September 16, 2019
 In Wellbeing of Olympic Athletes

Country: Finland
Delegate Name: Lauren Groulx

Every two years, thousands of athletes from over 200 participating countries compete in the Olympic Games. Approximately 25% of these Olympic athletes have reported experiencing mental distress related to their athletic careers. The wellbeing of Olympic athletes must be a top priority for the International Olympic Committee. Finland supports increased emphasis on the wellbeing of athletes and has recently taken action to improve access to mental health resources.

Training and competing at an elite level is both mentally and physically taxing. In Finland, more than 70% of elite athletes have reported suffering from mental health disorders, including anxiety, exhaustion, depression, and sleep disorders. Additionally, 1 in 3 female Finnish athletes have reported experiencing sexual harassment in sporting circles. Finland has responded to these reports by establishing an online Mental Health Hub which offers information, diagnostic tools, and therapy free of charge. These services have been accessed by 545,000 unique users, or approximately 10% of the Finnish population. Finland proposes that the IOC expands on the Mentally Fit Helpline recently used at the Tokyo 2020 and Beijing 2022 Games. We also support continuous access to this and other similar services, for both current and past Olympic athletes.

Despite efforts by the Finnish government, 59% of athletes said they were not aware of actions taken by their sport’s national association to stop or prevent harassment. Finland believes that current athlete wellbeing initiatives supported by the IOC, such as Athlete365, should be expanded upon and further publicized. Additionally, Finland supports mandating the course entitled “Safeguarding Athletes from Harassment and Abuse,” which is currently strongly recommended for athletes, coaches, and organization members by the IOC. Finland looks forward to working to improve the wellbeing of all Olympic athletes.