According to a new study, a quarter of Fantasy Football players have admitted that the game negatively impacts their mental health
Between eight to ten million people play the Official Fantasy Football online game in the United Kingdom, with many logging in each week to consider tactical changes. Fantasy football is popular across the world, with the survey’s participants coming from 96 countries.
Published in the journal Human Behavior and Emerging Technologies, researchers at Nottingham Trent University found that at least a quarter (24.6%) of the 1995 players surveys reported at least a mild low mood towards Fantasy Football – this number almost doubled when surveying heavy users who spent 45 minutes playing, 60 minutes researching and 120 minutes thinking about the game per day.
The lead researcher, Dr Luke Wilkins, said: “Fantasy football is unwinnable for the vast majority that play and it is possible that the more a person is invested the more negatively impacted they will be when they lose.”
Researchers have argued that game developers and the players themselves need to do more to monitor the amount of time being dedicated to the game, in order to protect the mental health of those involved.
Footballs attempt to tackle mental health issues
In February 2020 the Premier League and Football Association announced its intention to support the HeadsUp (Heads Together) campaign in attempt to #kickoffaconversation and help people to start talking about their mental health.
Clubs of all levels featured Heads Up branding across stadiums, programmes, and player kit, in a major unifying moment that aims to get the nation talking about mental health.
Of those surveyed by the Nottingham Trent University study, across 96 countries, 96% were men and their average age was 33. Football has continually been a male dominated space so it cannot be overlooked the potential influence that a Premier Leagues association with mental health campaigning could have the on promoting open communication about mental health and depression for men in particular.