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New App Targets Mental Fitness And Resilience In Youth Athletes: Meet The Arete Wellbeing Coach

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ustralian mental wellness start-up, Arete, have launched an app aimed at supporting the mental fitness of youth athletes.

The app is geared towards youth athletes and provides the resources and skills they need to cope with the unique challenges that come with performing sport at a high level.

Inspired by her son’s sporting journey, Arete, CEO and founder, Kas Taleb, told Ministry of Sport there is a huge gap when it comes to the mental health of young athletes.

“There’s a stigma surrounding mental health, particularly among youth athletes, they don’t want to be perceived as weak,” Taleb told Ministry of Sport.

“It’s all about starting that conversation.

“We wanted to provide a platform that delivers the content to the youth athlete demographic that makes sense,” she said.

The Arete app focuses on prevention methods rather than alleviating mental illness once it has developed.

The app utilises AI-powered technology and language processing combined with sports psychology to create a virtual wellbeing coach.

Users can access a variety of tools including a daily wellbeing tracker, information and tips on a range of topics including performance anxiety and balancing commitment from qualified specialists, in addition to an inspirational video series with professional athletes.

The creators at Arete have also gamified the app, allowing users to earn coins and rewards the more they engage with the content.

Up-and-coming Brisbane Strikers player, Jacob Toohey-Falck, said that using Arete had provided him with a better understanding of his own mental health and the factors that influence it.

“The app has helped me get back into a positive headspace and allows me to take action to progress my mental health,” Toohey-Falck said.

“I found that I am very reliant on success and that without consistency I feel lethargic and unmotivated.

“I now understand that my mental health changes all the time and that I can quickly balance it by being mindful of my emotions,” he said.

The app also allows coaches to access and monitor their athlete’s data.

Victorian soccer club, Essendon Royals, participated in a development trial for the app.

Essendon Royals head of football, Vaughan Coveny, said the Arete platform would be an essential tool for JBNPL (Junior Boys National Premier League) athletes to keep in touch with their mental wellbeing and would allow the club and their coaches to better support and monitor the welfare of their players during these unprecedented times.

“As youth athletes, to have a massive part of your life like football taken away from you is a massive deal,” Coveny said.

“We continue to provide football to our players in several ways in these challenging times but partnering with Arete will allow us to better monitor how our players are coping with lockdown from a mental point of view and provide appropriate support as required.

“When we get back on the field, we see great potential for the app to continue to benefit our players and help them understand the peaks and troughs of being a youth athlete,” he said.

Sporting clubs can also approach Arete for personalised and specialised app content.

The app launches in conjunction with World Mental Health Day on October 10.

Taleb believes there is more the industry could be doing to support its young athletes.

“Some of these clubs have three to four trainings a week, I would like to see at least one of these trainings dedicated to mental fitness,” Taleb said.

“Mental fitness is just as important as physical fitness.

“If athletes are mentally fit and well, they are more likely to perform,” she told Ministry of Sport.

The app launched today on IOS and is set to be available on Android devices in the coming months.