In conjunction with World Mental Health Day the BGA are proud to announce a new key project, ‘Grooms Minds’.
Mental Health is a subject which many people are still not keen to talk about, but with an increasing number of grooms, riders and employers contacting the BGA for help and advice, it is clear that this is a real issue within the industry.
The first step in this important project is to discover how widespread the issues are and so the BGA is urging that all grooms take part in a quick survey, which is 100% anonymous.
In the first dedicated survey of its kind the BGA would like to discover what issues are affecting you and the reasons why. The survey is 100% anonymous and you can take part here
Being happy and content in the workplace is vital to individuals wellbeing and efficient team working. The Grooms Minds project aims to identify the specific issues associated with mental health within the industry to allow the BGA to raise awareness of these issues and then focus on and develop within this area. This work will include employees, employers and those who are self employed.
The inspiration from the project came from founder of the BGA Lucy Katan, who said, “My experience of being bullied whilst working at a high profile dressage yard was the catalyst for the formation of the BGA. It is something that I will never forget, and at the time there was no organisation for me, as a groom, to turn to. I am always concerned when we receive communications from grooms who are suffering from mental health issues in their workplace, and the BGA is determined, through the Grooms Minds project, to raise the awareness of such.”
One former groom who has been badly affected by these issues, and who doesn’t wish to be named added, “Being a groom was my dream career I enjoyed every aspect of it. The long hours and hard work didn't bother me. I was so proud to have this job, to have the responsibility of such top class horses and to be part of a team. My anxiety snuck up on me, grooms are expected to conscientious and a bit OCD so again I was proud to have these qualities. However I started to take this to the extreme, whilst doing a double check is always a good idea, doing a quintuple check is time wasting, exhausting, unnecessary and the first sign of my anxiety. I didn't acknowledge this, to me this was still being conscientious. And if I am completely honest I didn't want to be held responsible if something went wrong.
“I also completely lost confidence in my own ability, handling some of the more difficult horses became an impossible task. I never had an accident, nothing ever happened to make be believe that I couldn't deal with those horses but I became completely crippled by fear. I didn't feel I could talk to anyone about it because not only did I think it was ridiculous (I had been handling these horses and been in sole charge of the yard whilst my boss was competing since I started the job) but I also didn't understand why I had become so terrified. I was angry and disappointed with myself. I eventually decided that I should leave the job. At this point I was asked by my employer if I was ok, unable to come up with anything else I replied with a rather shaky nod. This was taken at face value despite the fact that I clearly was not ok. I hope that the Grooms Minds project will help employers and grooms themselves be more alert to their mental wellbeing.”
The result of the survey will then allow phase two of the project and the development of resources available specifically for grooms. As part of the project the BGA has signed up to the Sport and Recreation Alliance Mental Health Charter.
World Mental Health Awareness Day takes place on 10th October and for 2017 focuses on mental wellbeing in the work place.
Being a member of your professional association will give you the opportunity to have a chat with an understanding member of the BGA team about any challenges that you may be facing. If you are not yet a member, discover more today.
Read more about Grooms Minds
Photo credit to: SEH Photography