Elina Svitolina Foundation is launching the Athlete’s Mental Health program to help young talents regain their psychological balance, find new ways of overcoming challenges, and set their focus on themselves and their goals in order to persevere and win.
The main aim of working with a psychologist in this program is to build psychological resilience, i.e. the ability to support oneself and the emotional regulation and positive thinking skills that will enable the athlete to pass the test without compromising mental and physical health and achieve their goal. Why is this relevant? Because to the psychological strain of a sporting career, there is now the added stress of circumstances that affect everyone. The war continues, and the challenge is getting harder and harder – the pain from the tragic events, the uncertainty about the future, the worries about family members and separation from them are doing their job: people are exhausted.
Athletes who have worked with a psychologist know that such interaction gives them a competitive edge. “I have experience working with psychologists at different stages of my career,” says Elina Svitolina. – In tennis, defeats happen a lot, and you need the psychological balance not to lose ground under your feet when it happens – and at the same time not to fly too high after a win. A psychologist can help you find the methods that work for you to achieve this balance. So that in the future, in difficult situations, you can help yourself. I think, every Ukrainian player should work with a psychologist today to restore the balance and be ready to go further. Psychological counselling is particularly relevant in times of war…”.
Applications will be collected from athletes aged 11 to 16. Further, the participants will be divided into groups. In addition to the group sessions, participants will work individually with a psychologist. The program will take place online and will last for three months. The head of the Psychological Health of an Athlete program is Irina Ivakina, psychologist, psychotherapist, member of the National Psychological Association (department “Stress and psychological trauma”), EMDR-consultant and a member of the “Association EMDR in Ukraine” (professional association of psychologists and psychotherapists for special trauma therapy). Irina is a specialist with experience of working with young athletes (psychological preparation for competitions, support and follow-up), who has been working with the Elina Svitolina Foundation and other sports organisations for several years.
The registration form for the Athlete’s Mental Health Programme is now open and can be used until 25 January. On 1 February, the Foundation’s experts will select the athletes who will be invited to take part in the programme.