Sporting heroes not trusted to coach our children
Posted Monday 31 August 2009
Gold medal winning triple jumper Phillips Idowu is calling on the public to take giant strides to end to mental health stigma by taking part in this year's Get Moving week (3 to 11 October 2009) a part of the Time to Change campaign to end discrimination. While all eyes are on the athlete at today's Aviva Grand Prix, new research shows only 26 per cent of people would be happy to let their child be coached by someone with a mental health problem .
Sporting heroes like David Beckham, Jonny Wilkinson and Dame Kelly Holmes have all spoken out about their experience of mental distress but the results show that they would not be trusted by the public to coach their kids. The You Gov poll, carried out during the recent IAAF World Championships, found that while 85 per cent think that sportspeople with mental illness set a good example, 48 per cent would only let a sports coach with mental distress teach their children if there were other adults present and a further 13 per cent would rule it out altogether.
Olympian Phillips Idowu said:
It is so sad that people with mental health problems are judged and discriminated against, especially when they are living - or trying to live - normal working lives. These results show that nearly everyone believes that sportspeople with mental illness can be good role models, so I do not understand why so many are opposed to these very same people taking time to pass on their skills to children and encourage them to exercise to improve their physical and mental wellbeing.
Exercise is one of the best ways of improving mental wellbeing but stigma and discrimination mean that many people are unwilling to take part in physical activities involving people with mental health problems. 1 in 10 surveyed admitted they would not want to share gym facilities with someone with mental illness and 1 in 5 would be worried about taking part in a contact sport such as rugby or karate.
Get Moving week will see hundreds of events taking place up and down the country bringing people together with and without experiences of mental distress to break down barriers and combat mental health discrimination. From walking to salsa dancing there is something for everyone and by taking part you can help make life better and fairer for those with experience of mental health problems.
Phillips Idowu will be leading the proceedings at Get Moving and Dance, a festival in Regent's Park in London on World Mental Health Day on Saturday 10 October. He will be joined by a host of celebrities at the event where people can try out different styles of dance. Find out more at www.getmovingweek.org.uk.
Another sporty star giving Get Moving her backing is former Spice Girl Mel C, who herself experienced depression. She said:
I'm a great believer in the positive effects of exercise on mood and mental wellbeing. Get Moving week is a fantastic way to raise awareness of the proven links between exercise and good mental health and to bring people together all over the country through a range of fun physical activities.
Sue Baker, Director of Time to Change said:
By getting people with different experiences of mental health together, we can help everyone to understand more about mental health. The prevailing stigma is society is vastly due to public misunderstanding and Get Moving week is a great way to break these myths. Plus, it gives people the chance to do something active, lifting their mood and benefiting their mental and physical wellbeing.
The Time to Change campaign is England's biggest and most ambitious programme to end mental health discrimination. The campaign is run by leading mental health charities Mind and Rethink, and backed by £16 million from the Big Lottery Fund and £4 million from Comic Relief.
Notes to editors
For more information, comment or interviews please contact the Time to Change media team on M: 07850 788514 or M: 07940 924 555
All figures are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2082 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 17 and 19 August. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).
Time to Change is England's most ambitious programme to end the discrimination faced by people with mental health problems, and improve the nation's wellbeing. Mind and Rethink are leading the programme, funded with £16m from the Big Lottery Fund and £4m from Comic Relief, and evaluated by the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College, London. For further information go to www.time-to-change.org.uk
The Big Lottery Fund's support for Time to Change comes from its £165m Well-being programme. The Big Lottery Fund has been rolling out grants to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK since its inception in June 2004. It was established by Parliament on 1 December 2006. Full details of the work of the Big Lottery Fund, its programmes and awards are available on the website: www.biglotteryfund.org.uk
Big Lottery Fund Press Office: 020 7211 1888
Out of hours: 07867 500 572
Public Enquiries Line: 08454 102030
Textphone: 08456 021 659
Comic Relief is committed to supporting people living with mental health problems. The projects Comic Relief funds ensure people with mental health problems get their voices heard in the decisions that affect their lives and to get the help they need to recover. Comic Relief also helps people to promote their rights and reduce the stigma and discrimination they face so that they feel more included in society. The £4 million grant to Time to Change is part of Comic Relief's long standing commitment to this issue. For more information go to www.comicrelief.com