August 4, 2021

Taylor: Mental-health platform shows ‘you are not alone’

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Sussex County Cricket Club has become the first professional sports club in the world to launch bespoke online mental health and wellbeing platform, with former England wicketkeeper-batter Sarah Taylor – who has battled anxiety issues – launching the hub

Last Updated: 18/01/21 10:39am

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Sarah Taylor discusses the Sussex Cricket Mental Health and Wellbeing Hub, the first platform of its kind to be launched by a professional sports club

Sarah Taylor discusses the Sussex Cricket Mental Health and Wellbeing Hub, the first platform of its kind to be launched by a professional sports club

Sarah Taylor hopes Sussex’s online mental health and wellbeing platform – the first of its kind for a professional sports club – can show those struggling that “they are not alone”.

Former England wicketkeeper-batter Taylor – who has battled a long-term anxiety issue herself – contributed to the innovation.

The platform, which is completely free and provides anonymity for its users, aims to support those dealing with mental health issues and includes a collection of thousands of videos as well as local community links.

The Hub is available for all those that need it at https://sussexcricket.frog.net/

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Consultant clinical psychologist Dr Emma Smith says Sussex’s online platform gives ‘stories of hope’

Consultant clinical psychologist Dr Emma Smith says Sussex’s online platform gives ‘stories of hope’

Data from the Office of National Statistics from June 2020 showed almost one in five adults were likely to be experiencing some form of depression during the coronavirus pandemic, nearly double the pre-pandemic level.

Taylor told Sky Sports News: “I am a massive believer that sharing is a good thing and hopefully through these experiences people can get that comfort and know they are not alone.

“The videos on this platform are from people from all walks of life. It doesn’t matter who you are – it’s just important to share.

“You can type in OCD, anxiety, there is a huge range of videos. I want to urge people to look and get the help they need.

Taylor played 226 times for England across the formats between 2006 and 2019 Taylor played 226 times for England across the formats between 2006 and 2019

Taylor played 226 times for England across the formats between 2006 and 2019

“I did a video of myself – my experiences, how I felt, the bad times, everything that helped. I am in a lot better place and want other people to be as well. I am quite proud to be a part of it.

“I don’t think you genuinely realise how far your word goes. I have had letters, tweets, Instagram messages from people I have never met before who say thank you for saying what happened to you.

“If we can keep getting the word out there hopefully people will feel that support and love.

“Everyone will go through something in their life and learning that people have got certain methods to deal with it, you can then put them into practice because someone else has tried it.

“We call copy batting techniques and bowling actions – I completely copied my keeping techniques – and I don’t see why it should be any different in life.

“It’s not only for people who are struggling but also to help people understand as well. The best way to get better is to have people around you who understand how to help.”

Sussex developed the online platform in partnership with Frog Systems and with the support of Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

Sussex County Cricket Club has over 3,500 members, 182 affiliated cricket clubs, and tens of thousands of supporters who attend matches each year.

Taylor added: “What Sussex have done is incredible, they should be very proud. When they first told me about it, it was so humbling that they have thought about this.

“The outreach Sussex have is huge and there is a need for this now. I have no doubt in my mind it will be a huge success.

From a terrible situation I have had to go through, I have now found a passion. You don’t want anyone to go through what you have been through and want them to know you can weather the storm and it will be fine.

Sarah Taylor

“If one video helps one person, I am happy with that. That is a success as you want to help people – that’s the whole reason for doing this.”

Sussex president, Sir Rod Aldridge, said: “We are extremely proud to be breaking new ground as the first sports club in the world to support its community in this way.

“It was felt with our connectivity across the entire spectrum of age, gender, background and personal circumstances that Sussex Cricket is ideally placed to reach out to our supporters and wider community at such a challenging time.

“The Hub harnesses the power of shared experience – so vital when it comes to addressing our mental health – and provides an innovative and accessible ‘one-stop shop’ for people to easily access support across a huge range of topics. I hope people find it useful.”