February's Time to Talk day aims to break the silence around mental health problems - and is the perfect opportunity to highlight those who strive to tackle mental illness all year round.
Sport has played a big part in the increased awareness and understanding of mental health issues in the last few years. This is evidenced by the Sport and Recreation Alliance's Mental Health Charter, the focus on individual development and wellbeing within the DCMS Sporting Future strategy and a variety of campaigns from sporting governing bodies.
But this work is not just from the top down. Many grassroots organisations, projects and partnerships are also harnessing sport's proven intrinsic benefits for participants' mental health. Here are some stand-out examples:
[Me]United – providing positive coaching and a friendly environment for participants who suffer from, or are at risk of developing, mental health illnesses such as stress, depression, anxiety or low mood. Read more
Coping Through Football – football sessions held across east London to promote social inclusion for participants who have suffered discrimination, unemployment, poor physical and mental health or a lack of support. Read more
Brunsmeer Awareness – an award-winning project providing targeted and tailored football-based interventions for men and women in Sheffield suffering moderate to severe mental health conditions. Read more
Opening Up Cricket – promotes mental wellbeing and suicide prevention through cricket by working with players, clubs and coaches at all levels in the UK. Read more
Get Set To Go – a Mind project that has set up groups in eight areas of the country to help people with mental health problems get active, providing peer navigators and specialist training for the sport and leisure sector. Read more
Empire Fighting Chance – a charity set up by Empire Amateur Boxing Club in Bristol that runs several programmes for young people and adults suffering from mental health issues. Read more
If you represent or work with a local or national group using sport to tackle mental health problems, why not add them to our directory of community sport organisations?