Public want the Government to put more funding into mental health sport programmes

84% of people want more investment in mental health sport and physical activity programmes.

The Sport and Recreation Alliance, along with the Professional Players Federation and Mind, has today published a survey which revealed 84% of people believe that the Government should invest more money in mental health sport and physical activity programmes.

Established to examine the public’s understanding of how sport and recreation can impact mental health, the poll also found that 80% of people agree their mental health is improved if they exercise or are physically active.

The survey was commissioned ahead of the one-year anniversary of the Mental Health Charter for Sport and Recreation. Since the launch of the Charter in 2015, over 230 sports clubs and organisations have committed to making positive change about how they interact with mental health. As part of its activities the Alliance is are inviting MPs to become Charter Champions in the hope of raising government awareness of the benefits of physical activity on mental health and wellbeing.

The results of the survey highlight the importance of the work being carried out by the sport and recreation sector to help tackle mental health stigma. It is now important that signatories of the Charter continue to devise and implement action plans to put the aims into practice.

The survey of the public, also identified the importance of engagement through health professionals. Of the 1,000 questioned, 85% agreed that GPs, nurses and pharmacists should promote sport and physical activity as a treatment to help people with their mental health.

With one in four people in the UK anticipated to experience a mental health problem each year, we as a sector, together with Mind, want the Government to further its support and investment in collaborative mental health and physical activity programmes. The additional funding would build on existing initiatives such as Mind’s Sport England and National Lottery funded programme Get Set to Go, which supports people to get active through sport.

Emma Boggis, CEO of the Sport and Recreation Alliance said:

“Evidence shows that being active can help prevent mental health problems and help people to deal with them. This can be for everyone, whether participating at grassroots through to elite level. We encourage more organisations and current supporters of the Mental Health Charter for Sport and Recreation to demonstrate their backing and increase momentum behind mental health sport and physical activity programmes.”

Sophie Corlett, Director of External Relations at Mind said:

“The recent Mental Health Taskforce report recommends greater access to interventions for physical activity to help people with mental health problems who are at greater risk of poor physical health. Mind is pleased to be working with the sport and recreation sector to deliver programmes and tackle stigma around mental health through physical activity.”

The PPF’s Chief Executive, Simon Taylor also commented:

“Every time a sportsman or woman talks about their mental health it helps to break down some of the stigma that millions of people face each day. Sport is a great way to promote good mental health for everyone.”

To see examples of signatory action plans please click here or if your organisation would like to sign up to the Charter follow this link.