May 30, 2022

Swing and a hit! Unmind and MLB team up to drive cultural change in baseball and beyond

May 30, 2022
Sam Musguin-Rowe
Writer

Joining Orlando Magic and Wolverhampton Wanderers as an Unmind elite sport partner, Major League Baseball’s commitment to mental health is a literal game-changer. Here’s why.

It’s a beautiful day for the ball game. Major League Baseball is launching Unmind.

In a world-first for elite baseball, from June MLB will provide 1,300 corporate staff, plus 7,000 umpires and Minor League players, with the tools they need to proactively measure, manage and improve their mental health and wellbeing.

More than that, by becoming an Unmind partner, Earth’s oldest major professional sports league is now helping drive cultural change. 

Promoting positive mental wellbeing 

Celebrating the partnership, MLB’s VP of Drug, Health and Safety Programs, Jon Coyles says: “The Unmind platform will allow us to respond to our overall high-level goal of reducing stigma throughout our industry and promoting positive mental wellbeing.

“Even if you don't have a diagnosed condition or you're receiving treatment for something, general wellbeing is something that can help employees and baseball players alike. 

“Going forward, we're hopeful that by putting a greater focus on mental wellbeing, we'll have a more positive and psychologically safe workplace environment where we can really see playing personnel and non-playing personnel thrive and grow.”

Matt Jackson, Unmind’s head of North America, adds: “It’s all science-backed and scientifically validated, but it just delivers content across the core measures of mental wellbeing in an accessible and destigmatized way. 

“An individual can measure their levels of happiness, calmness, coping, sleep, health, connection, fulfillment, and then there's content from bite-sized videos, exercises and micro-learning programs all centered around cognitive behavioral therapy, positive psychology, behavioral science and mindfulness.”

Self-guided programming

As with many of Unmind’s super-sized partners, MLB has an existing wellbeing ecosystem (e.g. its own EAP, plus clubs’ in-house psychologists), but that’s no barrier here; the platform slots straight in.

Meanwhile, Unmind is wide-ranging by nature, which proved key for MLB. Life is messy (maybe no more so than in pro spot), and individuals are individual. MLB was keen to look beyond one-off ‘solutions'. With Unmind, MLB players and staff can access the content they (as individuals) need, whenever – and wherever – it suits them. 

“That was a real top priority for us as we went through this exercise,” Jon says. “Unmind does a really good job of making it so you can specifically tailor it to your own needs and what you're looking to get out of this.

“People are constantly moving, playing a lot of games, being on the road a lot, a lot of travel. [We wanted] something that is self-driven, something that can be used on your own time, and something that can be personalized and fit their own personal needs depending on how they're coming at this, everyone's different and we recognize that.”

The best thing about being human 

Perhaps most important about Unmind’s shiny MLB tie-in is what it means outside the organization. As empowering people to improve their wellbeing is simply the start – what we need is cultural change on a mass scale. And we’ll get there by first boosting understanding of mental health actually is.

“For too long, mental health has been synonymous with ill mental health,” says Matt, “but the best thing about being a human being it's how you feel joy, how you grieve, how you solve complex problems. It's everything. 

“What we can do together with MLB is promote mental health awareness and support and provide that ongoing education training to players, employees and management leadership.”

Matt adds: “It’s another piece in the in the puzzle of MLB’s strategy on supporting players and staff. It's approaching mental health from the personal perspective as well as the athlete’s perspective. 

“We all have mental health all the time; at Unmind, we have the belief that everybody has the right to a healthy mind, and part of that is destigmatizing mental health, which our tools and content help the organizations do and support individuals wherever they are and wherever they may be on that mental health and wellbeing journey.”

Though MLB is Unmind’s first baseball partner, the organization joins the NBA’s Orlando Magic, and English Premier League team, Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Want to help lead the change? Get in touch below.

Change starts here

To find out more about how Unmind can help drive cultural change within your organization, book a chat with an Unminder today.