Sport scheme to help people with mental health problems unveiled

A £2m programme using sport to improve the lives of people with mental health problems has been announced.

It is hoped the scheme, will help 75,000 people in England.

They will be offered help to join sports clubs, take up a new activity or go to the gym as part of the project.

It will be launched in eight areas of England next year, with £1.5m of National Lottery funding from Sport England and £514,000 raised by Mind.

Mind chief executive Paul Farmer said physical activity could play a “key role” in recovery from mental health issues like anxiety and depression and in staying well in the long term.

“However, mental ill-health in itself can create significant obstacles that prevent people from taking up sport in the first place,” he added.

“Feelings of low self-confidence, exhaustion or fear of crowded spaces can seem insurmountable when facing a mental health problem.”

Sport England’s director of community sport Mike Diaper said sport “has the power to improve lives”.

He said: “There is compelling evidence that participation in sport and physical activity has a positive influence on mental wellbeing and mental illness.

“This includes enhancing day-to-day moods, reducing the impact of stress and enhancing self-esteem.

“That’s why Sport England is committing National Lottery funding to this exciting and ground-breaking programme.”

Participants will join the sports and mental health scheme through their local branch of Mind.

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