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New network of mental health champions

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Posted 10th May 2021

The Mind Sport and Activity Network for Yorkshire and Humber is working to set up a network of mental health champions across the region. They will work with their local sports club or group to support members and new people to improve their mental health through sport and physical activity.

Research from Mind shows that being active improves our mental health and reduces our risk of developing depression by up to 30%. It can also help with mental health recovery, and should be one of the first treatments recommended by doctors for mild to moderate depression.

With one in four adults and one in six young people experiencing a mental health problem each year, it’s a vital issue to address.

Established in 2020, Mind Sport and Activity Network for Yorkshire and Humber brings together the active partnerships of Yorkshire Sport Foundation, Humber Sport and North Yorkshire Sport. It will help more people with mental health problems engage with physical activity across the region by connecting organisations across the physical activity, mental health and charity sectors throughout Yorkshire. The aim is to provide them with the skills and knowledge to be more inclusive for people with mental health problems.

Debra Cummins, Hub Lead for the network says “We are really excited to be launching this new mental health champions programme across the region. We know many people want to be active and involved within local clubs and groups but are fearful of the stigma that is often associated with mental health. By having dedicated champions, it will help people to start the conversations about mental health and provide support for people to confidently take part in activity, in a welcoming and safe environment”.

Sam Perks, Physical Activity Operations Manager, said: “Mental Health Awareness Week is a time when the spotlight is very much on mental health, so we welcome the launch of the Mental Health Champions programme coordinated by the regional network. We know it can be hard to start the conversation about mental health. In fact, almost 70% of people with mental health problems told us they wouldn’t feel comfortable talking about their mental health in a sports setting.

“The role of Mental Health Champions can help to raise awareness of mental health and challenge stigma. They can also promote positive mental health and signpost to relevant support and help.

We are delighted to have supported the network with the creation of their Champions scheme via our Regional Network Innovation Fund. We hope the scheme will help to provide a more inclusive and welcoming environment for people experiencing mental health problems to be physically active.”

Find out more about the mental health champions scheme and how to get involved.

 

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