FUTPRO reveals that 80% of elite female soccer players had mental health problems


The II FUTPRO Study on mental health carried out by the majority women’s football union in Spain has revealed that 80 percent of elite female footballers have had mental health problems at some point throughout their lives and offers an guide to avoid or overcome them.

This second report highlights the fears, concerns and areas for improvement identified by the players, with the aim of driving progress in the relevant institutions.

The NH Collection Constanza Hotel in Barcelona hosted the presentation of this II Study, in which the president of FUTPRO, Amanda Gutiérrez, highlighted that it is not enough to have a mental health protocol but to “train and educate.”

“You have to teach the soccer players to detect what is happening to them. It is also important that the staff and managers are trained in mental health,” he said. FUTPRO’s main objective with this study is to guide sports institutions, from clubs to federations and media, in understanding and addressing the concerns of professional female players and elite athletes in general.

This provides a unique view from the perspective of female footballers themselves, allowing institutions to take measures to protect their physical and mental health, and encouraging investment in research and treatment of mental health in sport.

The analysis, based on the opinion of more than 40 percent of the first division players in the F League, reflects the importance and how necessary it is to cultivate mental health in high-performance sports.

“Currently, we find that 80% of our soccer players have suffered symptoms of depression, stress or anxiety due to the high demands of elite sport, where 60% of them did not feel supported by their club. And unfortunately , 70% believe that the demands of the clubs make them more likely to suffer mental health problems,” highlights the report.

Just as a muscle tear or bone break has treatment, so does a mental health problem. But FUTPRO regrets that more than 90% of female footballers would not feel comfortable saying in the F League that they suffer from a mental health problem and 96% believe that many of their teammates hide their mental health problems for fear that this will have consequences. sports.

Among other current problems, more than 50 percent of the female soccer players surveyed are concerned about reaching the minimum wage, followed by soccer fields and facilities, both with 14%. “It is evident that the well-being and development of female players begins with their clubs, which play a fundamental role in their professional and personal growth,” the report states.

Irene López, one of the world soccer champions, explained how she made the tough decision to abandon the sport due to her mental health. “I could disguise the reasons why I leave football, but I’m not going to do it, I leave it for mental health reasons, and I share it for those who read me and realize that they are not alone, that in this life there are We have to prioritize ourselves above everything, that from the moment we are born until we die, only you will be with you, and you have to take care of yourself,” he said.

FUTPRO wants to show that this is a big problem and they want to help change the conversation about mental health, increase awareness about the problem and change policies. As sports psychologist Inma Puig commented, the FUTPRO study on mental health in women’s football is innovation and provides guidelines to follow, not from a theory developed in an office, but “as a result of the responses of the protagonists: the players “.

Some of these tools are: promoting a supportive environment among teammates and facilitating access to mental health resources to raise awareness about its importance in sports performance.

Also implement gender equality policies and awareness programs to actively support female players who face discrimination, encouraging their equal representation at all levels of football.

Or, among other points to follow, provide comprehensive support during injury rehabilitation, including emotional and financial assistance, along with setting realistic expectations for effective recovery.