Adele Muscat, Owen Duca, Carlos Stivala


Mental health in football has not been widely researched despite several well-known footballers having suffered from mental illness. Coaches are essential figures in athletes’ lives who can support struggling athletes, however, few know what to do when faced with such a situation. It is also the case that not all football clubs can afford a sports psychologist within their team set-up. This study delved into coach awareness of mental health challenges that footballers may experience. Twelve football coaches in Malta, coaching at the top level, were interviewed. The findings showed that coaches lack relevant knowledge and training in the area. Coaches spoke about the lack of funding and availability of sports psychologists and struggled to make a distinction between mental health and mental skills. National associations are recommended to provide relevant education and support to all football players, technical staff, and club management personnel. This study explores the potential cultural implications of smaller nations where the level of professionalism in football may not be at the level of the top footballing nations in Europe.


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mental illness; small nation; football clubs; support; challenges

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