London, England: More than 60% of greenkeepers, PGA Professionals and club managers have experienced increased work-related mental health problems in the past year, a new survey by Syngenta has found.
Of these, nearly two-thirds (64%) said they had felt anxious or worried, 57% said they experienced sleep problems and 43% said they had felt depressed with a continuous low mood.
Three of the 256 respondents admitted thoughts of self-harm or suicide.
The online survey, which was anonymous, also found that only 9% of respondents had sought professional counselling in the previous six months.
And while two-thirds (68%) of respondents said their organisation or employer should offer mental health training and support, only 21% confirmed their employer did have a mental health policy or well-being programme (57% said their organisation did not offer support; 22% were unsure) and 12% had received stress or anxiety training at work.
Mark Birchmore, Syngenta Global Head of Marketing, Turf and Landscape, who commissioned the survey, said: “While this is a snapshot survey, it provides evidence of what we have been hearing anecdotally throughout the pandemic, that mental health problems are prevalent.
“I’m especially worried for the three industry colleagues who reported the most severe symptoms and I would encourage anyone in this situation to urgently seek professional advice.
“For the industry, the survey highlights a potential gap between the prevalence of mental health problems and the level of support available. As an organisation, this is something Syngenta is addressing with accredited Mental Health First Aiders within our team, as well supporting important industry initiatives, including the online Mindful Leadership Sessions by the Carolinas Golf Course Superintendents Association.
“But there is more to be done globally, which is why we are sharing the results of the survey with the golf industry, including bodies and associations, with a view to encouraging solutions.”
More than half the survey respondents (52%), from countries including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, said they were aware of colleagues who had experienced mental health problems since March 2020.
Of those who completed the survey, 66% were superintendents or greenkeepers, 13% were PGA Professionals or directors of golf and 11% were club managers.
Syngenta – an Executive Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation – has been highlighting mental health issues within its Growing Golf campaign and supported Emotional Health education at last month’s virtual Golf Industry Show.