Réseau international, Optimisation de la performance

MENTiS: promoting good mental health in elite sport through the entourage

INSEP is collaborating with five other European countries on a project called "MENTiS" which aims to promote the mental health of high-level athletes through their entourage. The objective is to develop and implement resources and educational tools for the entourage and high-level athletes so that they are able to identify possible signs of psychological distress.

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High level athletes, like the general population, have high risk of developing mental health disorders. These disorders can have a negative impact on their performance, their health, but also be a source of huge difficulties for those around them. The aim of the MENTiS project is firstly to examine the knowledge and perceptions of French hight-level athletes and their entourage about mental health in order to be able to effectively prevent any mental disorder by means of awareness-raising tools. According to the definition of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the entourage concerns "all persons associated with athletes, including, but not limited to, managers, agents, coaches, physical trainers, medical staff, scientists, sports organisations, sponsors, lawyers and any person promoting the athlete's sporting career, including family members".

A Europe-wide collaboration

MENTiS is a project funded by the European Commission in the framework of the Erasmus+ 2022 call for projects. The project is led by the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Belgium), which relies on international expertise illustrated by the participation of Loughborough University (England), the Centre d'Alt Rendiement Esportiu de Sant Cugat del Valles and the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (Spain), the Swedish Sport Confederation (Sweden), the Belgian Olympic and Interfederal Committee (Belgium), the Nederlands Olympisch Comite-Nederlandse Sport Federatie Vereniging (The Netherlands) and INSEP.

An ambitious 2-year project

The first stage consists of athletes (between 16 and 26 years old, on the ministerial list and in Olympic, Paralympic or other sports) and their entourage answering a questionnaire on their mental health (athletes) and their knowledge and management of it (athletes and entourage).

In a second phase, and thanks to the results of this survey, the research and athletes support teams of INSEP and partner institutions will work on creating educational resources and tools to provide information on mental health and detect signs of psychological distress. These will consist of online quizzes, workshops and fact sheets on mental health. They will be based on three pillars:

  1. mental health literacy
  2. mental health "first aid" skills
  3. mental health "self-care" skills.

In a third phase, from April to September 2024, INSEP will contribute to the organisation and facilitation of awareness-raising workshops and to the deployment and testing of the first tools created on the territory via the Grand INSEP network. A final report will be published in the autumn of 2024.

To find out more, you can visit the project website or follow its progress on twitter.