Riders Minds Launches Head First Campaign

 10 May 2022

Leading equestrian mental health charity Riders Minds has launched their Head First campaign to raise awareness of the effects of concussion on mental health.

The campaign has been created following the concerning results of a study by Charles Owen which revealed that 6 in 10 riders suffer from depression after a concussion. The survey also found that 30% of riders who suffered from depression went on to continue to suffer from prolonged mental health problems.

Sylvia Bruce; a mental health specialist who is responsible for the content on the Riders Minds website commented, "Our Head First campaign aims to get equestrians to re-think concussion. It is not 'just a bang on the head', it's a brain injury. If our brain is injured, our mind can be injured too, with potential far reaching implications on our mental health and well-being."

As part of the campaign Riders Minds have created the Head First Checker; a comprehensive tool to allow people to identify any signs of change, including brain function and mental health, and the early warning signs to look out for.

The tool includes four key areas; cognitive changes, mood/behaviour, physical signs and alterations to sleep pattern.

Riders Minds Chair Victoria Wright said “More than 25% of riders have suffered from depression and riders who have experienced five or more concussions are twice as likely to suffer from a mental health condition as a result. The importance of protecting our heads and monitoring signs of concussion/mental health is vital.”

“We also know that a mental health condition following a head injury does not necessarily occur immediately afterwards, it can take six months to a year after the incident to take effect. The objective of Riders Minds has always been to support the mental health and well-being of ALL equestrian people and we feel extremely proud that the connection between mental health and head injury has finally being brought to light in the equestrian industry like it has in rugby, American football and other high impact sports.”

If you, or someone you know, is suffering, then Riders Minds have the tools then in place to support those who are or know people who are suffering.

The timely launch comes on Mental Health Awareness Week, 9-13 May, where Riders Minds celebrates its third birthday.

To find out more about Riders Minds and to access the Head First Checker go to www.ridersminds.org

If you need support and would like to talk to someone call the free confidential helpline on 0300 102 1540, or text 07860 065 202, available 24 hours a day.