A new project to raise awareness of mental health issues within the equine industry has been launched by the British Grooms Association (BGA).

The Grooms Minds initiative was launched today (10 October) to tie in with World Mental Health Day.

This comes in response to increasing numbers of grooms, riders and employers contacting the BGA for help and advice.

“My experience of being bullied whilst working at a yard was the catalyst for the formation of the BGA,” said association founder and executive director Lucy Katan.

“It is something 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.”

The project aims to identify specific issues associated with mental health in the equine industry; to raise awareness of these and focus on how to address the issues.

One former groom, who did not wish to be named, said her anxiety “snuck up” on her.

“Being a groom was my dream career and I enjoyed every aspect of it,” she said.

“I didn’t feel I could talk to anyone about it because I was angry and disappointed with myself.

“I hope the Grooms Minds project will help employers and grooms themselves be more alert to their mental wellbeing.”

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The BGA has also launched an anonymous survey to establish what issues are affecting grooms and how widespread these are.

Around 50 people have taken part in the survey so far, with early results showing 76% of participants have been bullied while working as a groom and 81% saying they have suffered from mental health issues or stress.

The BGA has signed up to the Sport and Recreation Alliance Mental Health Charter, which sets out how organisations should adopt good mental health practice to make activities inclusive, positive and open to everyone.

Visit: https://britishgrooms.org.uk/grooms-minds for more information and to take part in the survey.

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