It has today been announced that AG Insurance Soudal Quick-Step, Soudal Quick-Step and the Soudal Quick-Step Devo team, are to partner with the Belgian charity Tele-Onthaal, to launch the #PartofthePack mental health awareness campaign.
The three teams of their cycling family have become increasingly aware of the pressures of modern life and the toll it has taken on our mental health. This is the reason they are together launching the #PartofthePack initiative, aimed at encouraging people to look after their mental health, opening conversations about personal mental wellbeing and looking after each other’s mental health. The teams earned the nickname The Wolfpack because of their close-knit community. They all support each other and work as a team. The aim is to bring this philosophy to the battle against mental health – it is a true team effort.
To do this, the teams have joined with Tele-Onthaal, who will support the initiative. Tele-Onthaal is a Belgian based organisation, offering 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 the team, staff, and fans as the campaign strives to remove the stigma of talking about mental health, as well as offering tips on how to look after your own mental health and start conversations with those that you think maybe suffering. As a world leading sports team, the AG Insurance Soudal Quick-Step family is also very aware of the positive effect that exercise and fresh air can have on our mental wellbeing and will be looking to promote the positives of this as much as possible.
On the launch of the initiative, Team Mental Coach Michaël Verschaeve said, “In the team, we have always tried to be at the forefront of care for our riders and staff. We have a very close-knit community and the #PartofthePack 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 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 the dedicated website to find details of the campaign and details of organisations that can offer support, throughout Europe.