St Helen's Rugby Club have taken a huge step to support their players!

Just under half of all athletes experience a mental health problem. This means clubs need to take the wellbeing of their players seriously. If athletes can’t keep mentally fit, how can they keep physically fit. In fact, mental and physical health one and the same. Athletes not only have everyday life stresses, they also have to manage the stress that comes with their career. Stresses like training, competitions, injuries, and matches come with being in the line of work. Athletes who manage their stress levels are more likely to be full of energy and perform at the top of their game, however those who are stressed may seem unmotivated and lack that competitive edge.

So, what are clubs doing about this?

Well, St. Helens Rugby Club has acted! It has teamed up with Thrive to be the first rugby club to offer their club an app for their mental health. Thrive: Feel Stress Free is an app that encourages athletes of all levels to take care of their mind. Thrive works with the services the club has in place, and players can reach out to any support that the club provides by the touch of a button.

Thrive's studies have shown that there was a 65%+ user take up rate on the app, there was a 50% recovery rate for common mental health conditions such as mild anxiety and mild depression, whilst the average mood of players had increased by 20% after using Thrive: Feel Stress Free.

“In every team environment, there’ll be mental fitness issues, and to have a confidential tool accessible by anyone, anytime of the day, has helped more than we thought.” Neil Kilshaw, Performance and Wellbeing Manager at St. Helens RFL

Thrive: Feel Stress Free is an app that uses clinically proven, evidence-based techniques to prevent, screen for and manage common mental health conditions such as stress, mild anxiety, depression. The app is full of helpful content including mood screens, guides, fun games, exercises and much more; not to mention the athletes have access to support 24/7. 


The app encourages support-seeking behaviour and detects issues before they become too severe. Thrive is not for the 1 in 4 struggling with their mental wellbeing, it is for the 4 in 4 of us that need to care for our mind and cope with life's daily stresses.


The detection part is done by using screening tools widely used in the NHS. From this daily screen the app can pick up if a user may have anxiety and or depression. The app then gives users a personalised plan within the app and directs them to the right support.


The app includes many forms of treatment, from breathing techniques to fun mini games like word searches. There really should be something for everyone. All the content is evidence-based and is there to help the user, evidence is at the heart of what Thrive do!

“Investing in Thrive for our athletes’ mental wellbeing was one of the best decisions we made!”

St. Helens Rugby Club has taken a huge step to support their players and improve their performance, hopefully others will now follow their lead. A healthy mind is the new key for winning the game!

Sam GlassComment