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IOC’s Mental Health Action Plan for Athletes’ Well-being


Good mental health is essential for overall health. The Mental Health Action Plan stresses the significance of acknowledging that the mental health requirements of athletes are just as vital to their performance and well-being as their physical health needs. Good mental health encompasses more than just the absence of mental health symptoms or disorders.
The Mental Health Action Plan is a comprehensive strategy that will serve as a guide for the IOC to promote mental well-being across its four areas of responsibility, guided by the principles of human rights, equity, evidence-based practice, and collaboration. These areas include the IOC as an organization, the IOC as the owner of the Olympic Games, the IOC as the leader of the Olympic Movement, and Olympism in society.
There are five thematic focus areas with corresponding key objectives and actions to be achieved by 2026 across these four spheres:
Culture and leadership: Championing a policy environment that recognizes the importance of mental health and well-being.

Measurement and research: Contributing to more thorough and reliable mental health epidemiology in elite athletes and under-researched groups, with attention to cross-cultural differences.

Reduce prevalence and improve well-being: Developing expert-led tailored tools and initiatives to improve mental health literacy, reduce stigma, build mental resilience, and reduce sport-specific stressors.

Improve care: Fostering psychologically safe athletic environments that reduce barriers to help-seeking, including through early recognition of when further support may be needed and establishing pathways to care.

Improve access to sport: Promoting and supporting the mental health benefits of accessing sport and Olympism in Society, especially in resource-limited settings.

The Mental Health Action Plan is an ambitious roadmap for promoting mental well-being in the world of sports. By working towards these key targets by 2026, the IOC hopes to make a significant impact on the lives of athletes and communities around the world.
The IOC places a high priority on the well-being of athletes. The focus on protecting and promoting the mental health of elite athletes began in 2019 with the publication of the IOC Consensus Statement on mental health in elite athletes and the establishment of the IOC Mental Health Working Group.
Recommendation 5 of Olympic Agenda 2020+5 calls for increased mental health support for elite athletes and their entourages, while Recommendation 10 focuses on using sport to contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and create a healthier world. These efforts have significantly increased the resources available through Athlete365, including the dedicated #MentallyFit section and the IOC Mental Health in Elite Athletes Toolkit.
The Mental Health Action Plan demonstrates the IOC’s commitment to integrating expert-led support for athletes’ well-being across multiple IOC programs, working on complementary topics such as gender equality and safeguarding, with the support of Olympic Solidarity. The plan also draws on the principles of Olympism365, the IOC’s strategy aimed at strengthening the role of sport as an enabler of the UN SDGs, with a focus on building partnerships with organizations around the world to promote the mental benefits of physical activity and sport.
The IOC is committed to providing leadership to the Olympic Movement in this area and raising awareness among National Olympic Committees and International Federations through resources such as the Certificate and Diploma in Mental Health in Elite Sport.