People with mental health issues to be offered a sports programme

A new scheme which is being launched by the charity Mind with funding from Sport England is aiming to help 75,000 people with mental health problems.

The £2million project will use sport to assist and improve the lives of people with mental health issues and they will be offered help to join sports clubs, take up a new activity or go to the gym as part of the programme.

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.”

Grassroots sports body Sport England will help provide “bespoke sports programmes” that will help thousands of people “access sport as part of their recovery and ongoing health”, said Mr Farmer.

Sports coaches taking part on the scheme will receive training to understand the issues faced by those with mental health problems.

The target is for 25,000 people to be helped in the first 15 months of the project.

The project will also see support groups and taster sessions set up to help people make sport a part of their lives.