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World Mental Health Day: Support everyone to benefit from being active

On World Mental Health Day, the English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS) recognises the importance that physical activity has on all our mental health and wellbeing. Monday 10 October is World Mental Health Day, hosted by the World Federation of Mental Health. This year's theme set by the World Federation for Mental Health is psychological first aid and the support people can provide to those in distress.

Amanda Worne playing sitting volleyball in inclusive sport session.

Research shows taking part in sport and active recreation is effective in reducing depression, anxiety, psychological distress and emotional disturbance. Low to moderate physical exercise can reduce anxiety and have both short and long-term beneficial effects on psychological health. Taking part in sport and spectating can have a positive impact on the wellbeing and happiness of young people. (ONS, 2014).

This World Mental Health Day, EFDS is encouraging sport and exercise providers to think about the ways in which they can ensure the good mental health of people through lifestyle choices, better social connections and active citizenship.

What support is available in sport and active recreation?


Mind charity runs a new programme- Get Set to Go. Thanks to support from Sport England and the National Lottery, the programme aims to improve the lives of 75,000 people who have mental health problems through access to sport in their communities.

If you live in one of the eight areas where our local Minds offer Get Set to Go you can sign up to get support to increase your activity levels and find the right sport for you. They are also working with the sport and leisure sector in these areas to see how we can remove the barriers to participation for people with mental health problems.

If you live outside of the eight Get Set to Go areas you can join Elefriends community. It's a safe and supportive online community where you can get support and motivation to be active.

Sport and Recreation Alliance Mental Health Charter

The Sport and Recreation Alliance alongside the Professional Players Federation and with support from the mental health charity Mind, have created the Mental Health Charter for Sport and Recreation. You can read more on the Charter here.

Sport in Mind

Sport in Mind, an independent mental health charity founded in 2011, points out that this year, one in four of us in the United Kingdom will be affected by a mental health problem. Despite this, there is still a tremendous amount of stigma attached to this type of illness. At Sport in Mind® they use sport to assist people in their recovery from illness and raise awareness.

Sport in Mind and Sport England have a promotional video, showing people with mental health problems being active in sport and physical activity. Find out more about Sport in Mind on their website.

England Athletics

England Athletics is encouraging people to #RunAndTalk to improve their mental wellbeing through running and to break down the stigma associated with mental health by getting people talking about it.

Run and Talk is a national campaign to improve mental wellbeing through running and to break down the stigma associated with mental health. During the week of 8th-14th October 2016 England Athletics is encouraging people to run one mile or further and to have a chat with friends, family, colleagues or other runners. It can be at a time and location of their choice or by joining one of the organised runs at an England Athletics club or RunTogether group.

Read more about #RunandTalk here.

The Football Association

To mark World Mental Health Day, The FA will run a series of six related workshops kicking off at the end of October.

Scheduled to take place in Newcastle and London, the workshops, facilitated by mental health experts, will explore what mental health means, its different causes and methods to help alleviate.

The workshops are aimed at coaches, players, volunteers and officials involved in grassroots and community football clubs.

Read about the workshops here.

Other documents you may find interesting are:

If you are a disabled person looking for activities near to you, visit our events pages.