The mental health charity campaigns to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding
For more than 60 years, Mind has worked to improve the lives of all people with experience of mental health problems. Recently the charity has been working on new research which shows that people with mental health problems are put off of sport, because they are not ‘gym body ready’.
The positive effects of exercise on both mind and body are well documented, but the charity’s recent study shows that four fifths (80 per cent) of people with mental health problems who do not take part in sport, are put off because they feel self-conscious about their bodies.
Nearly 70 per cent of people told Mind that they feel their mental health makes taking part too difficult. The findings come as the charity launches Get Set to Go, a new programme to support 75,000 people with mental health problems to take up sport.
Mind’s poll, of 660 people, found that four fifths of people don’t feel confident in their sporting ability. Get Set to Go, supported by Sport England and the National Lottery, will help people with mental health problems become more active through sports projects at eight local Minds. People taking part will receive one-to-one support from others with shared experiences, who understand the additional challenges a mental health problem presents to those who want to get active.
Of those who do take part in sport, more than one in five say it is because their GP or another health professional had recommended it, while more than 90 per cent participate because it is good for their mental wellbeing.
Nearly three quarters (72 per cent) of people with mental health problems say they enjoy taking part in sport, or exercising, however around nearly two thirds (64 per cent) are worried about taking part in sport by themselves.
Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind, the mental health charity, says: “Our research shows that people with mental health problems do want to participate in sport, however feelings of low self-confidence, exhaustion or fear of crowded spaces are preventing them from getting started.
“We want more people with mental health problems to be able to enjoy exercising and Get Set to Go will help people to better look after their physical and mental health through sport. Our online community, Elefriends, is also a great place to find support and advice from others with mental health problems who use sport and exercise to stay well.”
Mind’s research also revealed a perception amongst respondents that you need to look a certain way to participate. Over half (55 per cent) of people told the charity they are not ‘gym body ready’, saying they are not members of sports clubs, gyms or leisure centres, because they are embarrassed about their body shape or size.
To find out more about Get Set to Go, visit www.mind.org.uk