Sports Gazette

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‘Players are on the verge of suicide’: New mental health charter to transform British basketball

Great Britain basketball player Kofi Josephs and journalist Oliver Lawrie announce the launch of the Mental Health Charter for Basketball (MHCB).

Mental Health Charter for Basketball front page, with images of the authors top right
The Mental Health Charter for Basketball
(Trigger Warning: Suicide)

Basketball is facing a mental health crisis.

This is not a conclusion that has been drawn lightly.

It is based on the lived experiences of British basketball professionals, many of whom have negotiated poor mental health themselves, and, in far too many cases, have been on the verge of suicide.

While this is reflected in society as a whole, especially in wake of the covid-19 pandemic, this is particularly acute in British Basketball at the moment.

It is essential the crisis facing those within the basketball community is revealed, understood, and rectified.

Not just for the players themselves, but to protect the health and immense potential of the game in the country.

The MHCB, which can be accessed in full here, is guided by the lived experiences of basketball professionals, and offers a platform for the discussion of, and improvement in, mental health provision in British basketball.

The Charter

The following topics are addressed in the charter’s four articles: Recognising the state of play, education, provision and activism.

Article one encourages stakeholders to officially recognise the mental health crisis facing basketball.

Article two outlines the importance of education in making basketball as a safe space for mental health, including professionally verified steps stakeholders can take when providing education.

Article three outlines the provision stakeholders can put in place to improve mental health provision in basketball.

Article four attempts to future-proof mental health provision in basketball, outlining the active role stakeholders should play in this field in the future.

Stakeholders are encouraged to sign the charter, thereby committing to making basketball a safe space for its community. They can do this by contacting Kofi Josephs, Oliver Lawrie or anyone involved in the project.

We recognise the Charter is not the perfect solution to such a complex problem, but should serve as a platform for discussion, and a catalyst for positive change in mental health provision in basketball.

Kofi Josephs and Oliver Lawrie in association with WhyNotI. With thanks to Howe-Yee Law for the design work.

Access the full Mental Health Charter for Basketball here.

Whatever you’re going through, there are people you can talk to any time.

Samaritans provides a free, 24-hour, confidential listening service on 116 123.

For other sources of support see


While Mind is mentioned throughout the Charter, they are not officially affiliated with this work. Their logo and name were used in error, for which Sports Gazette apologies unreservedly to those invovled.


  • Oliver Lawrie

    Think a sport is boring? I've probably written about it. Cricket writer - known as Oliver to my friends and (affectionately) as 'that guy who writes about basketball' to my enemies. Bylines include MailOnline, Wisden Almanack and Yorkshire Bylines with many more to come. I hope.