Get Set to Go

Sport England and Mind have announced a £1.5m programme of activity to engage people experiencing mental ill health in physical activity.

The programme is the extension of a pilot which found that participants felt significantly more supported to engage with physical activities and had increased the number of days on which they took part in physical activity by, on average, 1.3 days. They also felt it improved their resilience and their ability to deal with anxiety, panic attacks, and even suicidal thoughts. It combined sports activity with group and one on one peer support, and Mind’s online social network Elefriends.

Over 30,000 sport and physical activity staff and volunteers will be trained to give better support to people with mental health problems. Leisure centres, gyms and similar providers will be encouraged to be more welcoming and to understand the needs of people with mental health problems. An appreciation of mental health will be embedded in the way they work, for example by including it in coaching and leadership qualifications. Specific activity will be launched in ten areas across England, directly helping 1,500 people with mental health problems to become active and a further 1,500 to remain active with the right level of support based on their individual need. Participants will also be encouraged to become volunteer ‘peer navigators’, using their own experiences to support others.