Mind unveils regional 'sport and mental health' networks

The mental health charity Mind has revealed the location of nine new ‘Regional Networks’ aimed at helping more people with mental health problems engage with physical activity.

By linking up local organisations across the physical activity, mental health and charity sectors Mind hopes its Regional Networks will support sport and physical activity organisations to be more inclusive of people with mental health problems.

The networks will work to increase the number of groups in their region who are equipped with the skills to support and engage people with mental health problems in physical activity. They will offer training, toolkits and resources, as well as providing a platform for networking and sharing best practice to build stronger relationships between organisations.

Each network will be led by a hub (lead organisation), with one based in each of the nine English government regions. They will receive support and funding from Mind until the end of March 2021. Hubs will have autonomy and responsibility for designing, delivering and implementing their Regional Network. Each Hub will aim to engage and support at least 70 organisations in their region and upskill 160 people such as coaches, volunteers and staff in mental health awareness.

Confirmed Regional Network hubs include: Tyne & Wear Sport, Merseyside Sports Foundation, Yorkshire Sport Foundation, Sport Birmingham, Herts Sport Partnership, Active Oxfordshire and Active Dorset.

Hayley Jarvis, Head of Physical Activity, said: “We know that physical and mental health go hand in hand and it is now well-established that being more physically active can have real benefits to our mental health.

“Yet despite this, many people with mental health problems face barriers to getting active, ranging from fears about physical appearance or being intimidated by going to the gym, to finding it hard to get out of the house.

“The good news is that, by upskilling staff and volunteers across the sport and physical activity sector, we can begin to break down some of these barriers.

“We hope that the Regional Networks will help bring about real change in the sector that leads to more people with mental health problems feeling able to get more active.”

For more information about Mind’s Regional Networks, click hereOrganisations interested in getting involved with their nearest Regional Network should email sport@mind.org.uk

In other news: Mind and the Sport for Development Coalition are supporting the #21by21 campaign to provide 21,000 community sport coaches and volunteers with mental health awareness training by 2021. To find out more, visit 21by21.info.