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Bloom has filed 28 patents.
Obstetrics, Midwifery, Human female endocrine system, Human pregnancy, Fertility
Obstetrics, Midwifery, Human female endocrine system, Human pregnancy, Fertility
Latest Bloom News
Mar 2, 2021
Sorry, there was a problem with your subscription. The 63-year-old has just published Keeping Your Head in the Game , the first book of its kind, which peers into the confidential world of athletes’ therapy sessions – and offers insights into boosting or treating mental health which could help those of us who left sport behind in PE lessons at school. Using anonymised composite characters, his book allows you to follow 10 athletes through the course of their therapeutic journeys, the stories structured around the emotions we all experience: shame, anger, fear, jealousy and love. There is Edwin Thomas, a Welsh rugby union player who was arrested after a drunken brawl and treats his wife like a piece of property. Kwasi Adepodji is a Ghanaian footballer on loan to an English club who responded to his homesickness by attending a sex party (exposed via social media). Cricketer James Holmes presents after absconding from a tour of India because of anxiety that his family members will get ill while he is away. And Premier League footballer Madison King watches her life spiral out of control after a head injury spells the end of her career. Bloom recalls one radio presenter declaring: “Anyone on fifty grand a week has no right to feel depressed.” The idea mystifies him. “I’ve worked with some of the richest people in the country who are still desperately unhappy because their lives just don’t make sense any more,” he says. Bloom argues that far from leading cushy lives, sports stars are under so much public pressure – from managers, fans and Twitter critics – that “they’re in a kind of frying pan with the heat turned up”. During therapy sessions, the discussion often starts with how to improve performance. “But very quickly, we’re moving on to their personal lives, and combing through to see if there is anything that could be holding them back. “If we’re not becoming the best possible versions of ourselves, there’s usually a good reason why and that might be an old piece of emotional trauma, a toxic relationship, falling out with a parent – families are minefields of difficult relationships that we all deal with.” Almost seven years into his new vocation – working inside Oxford United FC as well as with individual clients from a range of sports – Bloom is disappointed that no other club has followed suit. “The fact that few coaches want a walking reminder of their vulnerability is possibly the reason why I am the only psychotherapist that I know of working in first-team professional football in the UK,” he says, adding: “I think it’s an indictment of how sport treats its players.” Support for young players In January, the 31-year-old footballer Max Noble revealed exclusively to i how at 19 he went from a promising winger at Fulham and a Wales youth international to hiding under the duvet in floods of tears and struggling with anxiety, depression and thoughts of suicide . Noble spoke of Fulham’s refusal to pay for a double-knee operation shortly before they discarded him and said he knows of more than 150 former youth footballers who feel similarly that academies failed in their duty of care. Ninety-eight per cent of 16- to 18-year-olds who sign youth scholarships are released, or drop out of the game entirely, by 21. Max Noble took 10 years to build up the confidence to speak out (Photo: Max Noble) None of this comes as news to Bloom, who also presents the talkSPORT radio show On the Sporting Couch. “It’s my belief that we should be supporting those young kids for two to three years after they leave the clubs,” he says. “They have built their dreams and beliefs and everything about themselves around the sport. And then you add to that their parents’ hopes and aspirations. They’re suddenly ripped out of the academies and told, ‘Son, you’re not good enough’. Those people need support – not just kids, the mums and dads, too.” ‘Football’s biggest, best-kept secret’ Fulham FC opened an investigation in January after Max Noble bravely revealed the harrowing experiences he went through at the club’s academy a decade ago, in an interview with i’s Football Correspondent Sam Cunningham. Describing bullying, racism, threats and medical mistreatment, Noble said many others share his experiences in what amounts to “football’s biggest, best-kept secret”. His former team-mate Ashley Thompson then came forward to detail his own depression and suicidal thoughts after being released. Fulham say they “condemn bullying, racism and discrimination”. A survey of young footballers released by their clubs in 2020 revealed last month that almost three-quarters do not believe they receive enough support. The agent Luca Hodges-Ramon says that clubs, governing bodies and players’ representatives need to take responsibility for the “taboo” subject of mental health and the “dilemma” of how to support young players who are ruthlessly dropped by their clubs. Max Noble’s interview with Sam Cunningham (Photo: i) Bloom tries to get his clients to disentangle their identities from their careers. It’s advice that many of us could benefit from, especially for people who have been furloughed or made redundant in the past year, and those who have seen their living room become their office. “I tell them, ‘Look, this is what you do. It’s not who you are. Who you are is a father to your kids, a son to your mum and dad, a brother or sister to your siblings’. And I think men mix these up really, really badly.” He wants the Professional Footballers’ Association to treat mental health as a defining priority, instituting an audit system to make sure clubs are “psychologically safe”. This would involve regular checks on how players are looked after, “a bit like [how] we would do random drug testing”. “I don’t think the majority of first-team football clubs take it seriously enough,” he says. “Think of Alexis Sánchez, who got a huge transfer fee to bring him into Manchester United, and said he couldn’t settle and wasn’t feeling right. How come a great footballer like Sánchez can go to Man United and flop so spectacularly? You don’t become a bad footballer overnight. “If I were to take you and stick you into another country with another language, and you didn’t have your family with you, and you didn’t know anybody, and you didn’t have any friends, and you were locked in a hotel, could you do your job as well? “Nobody sits down with these people and says: ‘What is it you need to become the best version of yourself to justify the fact we’ve paid £35m for you?’ Or do we just say: ‘You know what, he’s a bit of a flop, let’s get rid?’” Alexis Sanchez was a star signing for Manchester United but his time at the club was disappointing for him and everyone involved (Photo: Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Getty Images) Players are trying too hard You might think that having an unhealthy level of competitiveness and drive to succeed are part and parcel of being a world-class athlete. But Bloom – whose slogan is “happier players play better” – begs to differ. “One of the biggest things that surprised me, working with players, is how much they try too hard. Not that they shouldn’t have good habits like diet and fitness, but if you can normalise your job, rather than trying to prove yourself every time you do whatever it is you’re meant to do, then usually performance jumps up. “The research data suggests that psychological involvement can improve performance somewhere between 8 and 15 per cent. If I said to just about anybody that you’ve come across, ‘Look, I’ll give you an 8 to 15 per cent improvement on how you do whatever you do’, most people would take it, and I certainly would.” He wants new recruits to his fledgling field. “This is brand new, and my hope is other people decide to train and take this up, because our sportsmen and women really, really need help.” Bloom was partly inspired to train as a psychotherapist because he was so “appalled that the biggest killer of men aged 25 to 50 is suicide”. Mental health issues are also rife among female athletes, and no wonder when 30 per cent of respondents in a survey last year said they had suffered trolling. Sexism, and body shaming are common forms of abuse – just as they are in wider society – and there are many pressures over having children. Team GB Olympic medallists including badminton player Gail Emms and runner Kelly Massey are among those to have spoken out about their mental health struggles after retiring. Gail Emms won a silver medal at the Athens Olympic Games (Photo: John Gichigi/Getty Images) Bloom hopes his work aids many more people beyond sport and athletics. Especially during what he calls a “mental health pandemic”. “If my book stops just one person thinking about taking their own life, and has them reaching out to their GP or finding a therapist or being able to find a friend or relative just to talk to, then I think I’ve done my job. “It’s about everyone, it’s about you and I, when we are in a bit of a mess, recognising there are qualified people out there who can help us with these really, really powerful emotions, which ultimately could kill you. “Suicide is death by depression. And there are a lot of depressed people out there, who are unable or unwilling to share what’s going on in their lives.” Could therapy sessions help you? Many people who are struggling with things in their lives could benefit from psychotherapy, but while going through hard times it can be difficult to realise that this applies to you. For an effective self-assessment, Gary Bloom advises: “Think about the rule of three. “If you’re not feeling great about yourself, and you notice a change going on for you psychologically that happens three times in a week, and that goes on for three weeks, reach out to your GP and get some help. “Life is going to punch us in the mouth at some stage – be it Covid, bereavement, loss of a job, loss of money or health. We have to find a way of being able to get back up off the canvas. For me, the best way is to get somebody who’s going to give you a hand. I think a therapist is the best person to help you.” The NHS website advises that “ talking therapies can help with common mental health problems like stress, anxiety and depression. Which therapy you are offered depends on which one has been shown to be most helpful for your symptoms”. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), it explains, is “a family of talking therapies all based on the idea that thoughts, feelings, what we do and how our bodies feel, are all connected. CBT works to help us notice and challenge patterns of thoughts or behaviours so we can feel better”. Guided self-help is “where a therapist supports you as you work through a self-help course in your own time, either using a workbook or an online course.” Counselling for depression is “a type of counselling developed specially for people with depression”. Your GP can refer you for talking therapies on the NHS or you can refer yourself directly via nhs.uk – where you can also find the number for your local NHS urgent mental health helpline. If someone’s life is at risk call 999 or go to A&E.
Bloom Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Where is Bloom's headquarters?
Bloom's headquarters is located at 13204 W. San Miguel Ave, Litchfield Park.
What is Bloom's latest funding round?
Bloom's latest funding round is Unattributed.
How much did Bloom raise?
Bloom raised a total of $150K.
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