The three teams that make up the Wolfpack family are to partner with the Belgian charity Tele-Onthaal, to launch the Park of the Pack mental health awareness campaign.
The three teams - Soudal Quick-Step, AG Insurance - Soudal Quick-Step women’s team, and the Soudal Quick-Step Devo team - have become increasingly aware of the pressures of modern life and the toll that this has taken on our mental health. This is why we are launching our Part of the Pack initiative, aimed at encouraging people to look after their mental health, open up conversations about our personal mental wellbeing and look after each other’s mental health. Our family of team’s earned the nickname of The Wolfpack because of its close-knit community, where we all support each other and work as a team and we want to bring this philosophy to the battle against mental health - it is a team effort.
To do this we have teamed up with Tele-Onthaal, who will support the initiative. They are a Belgian based organisation, who offer support and help to those who are struggling with their mental health, as well as partnering similar organisations, based in countries across the world. They will support our team, staff, and fans, as we strive to remove the stigmas of talking about mental health, as well as offering tips on how to look after your own mental health and how to start conversations with those that you think may be suffering. As a world leading sports team, we are also very aware of the positive effect that exercise and fresh air can have on our mental wellbeing, and we will be looking to promote the positives of this as much as possible.
On the launch of the initiative, Soudal Quick-Step Mental Coach Michaël Verschaeve said: “In the team, we have always tried to be at the forefront of care for our riders and staff, and we have a very close-knit community that is known as The Wolfpack and the Part of the Pack initiative is an extension of that philosophy. This team was one of the first to use a sports psychologist to help our riders, but in recent years we have all become more aware of the importance of our mental health and it is a subject that now transcends sport and wider society. We are hoping that this initiative can help to normalise the conversation around our mental health.”
This was echoed by Jennifer Pots of Tele-Onthaal, who said: "As a helpline providing emotional support through phone and chat services, we have witnessed the profound significance of mental health, particularly during times of crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the past two years, we have observed a 10% to 15% increase in the number of calls, indicating a growing need for conversation and support. Even now, beyond the pandemic, we continue to witness a higher demand for our services compared to pre-crisis levels.
We wholeheartedly applaud the teams for taking a stand on mental health through their campaign. As a helpline, we understand that addressing mental health issues remains a taboo in our society, and it is heartening to see this being discussed so openly, which has a wide-reaching impact and plays a significant social role, spotlight this important topic. Tele-Onthaal is committed to being accessible to anyone in emotional distress, irrespective of their age, gender, religion, or nationality. This commitment aligns perfectly with the inclusive nature of cycling. We are open to everyone, regardless of their background, education, or gender.”
For more information on the subjects addressed, you can go to our dedicated website, where you can find details of the campaign, and details or organisations that can offer support, throughout Europe.
Photo credit: ©Wout Beel