Olympian Phillips Idowu, Joe McGann and Sophie Anderton join thousands to Get Moving on World Mental Health Day
Posted Thursday 9 October 2008
Friday 10 October - mass participation event boosting wellbeing and breaking down the barriers of mental health stigma in Battersea Park, London
Phillips Idowu, Joe McGann and Sophie Anderton join the thousands who have 'walked a mile for mental health' this week as part of 'Get Moving' (4-12 October) by leading walks at a World Mental Health Day event in Battersea Park, London, at 10.30am today. The mass participation week has involved some 14,000 people across England in enjoying the benefits of physical activity on mental wellbeing combined with tackling mental health stigma by taking part. People with and without mental health problems have been coming together to take part in over 300 events ranging from yoga to gardening to boxing in a historic start to the fight against stigma and discrimination.
Saturday 4 October 2008 - National Launch at the Eden Project
The campaign, which is endorsed by famous faces such as Mel C, Kym Marsh and Monty Don, was launched on Saturday 4 October at a mass bulb-planting event with Olympic swimmer Cassie Patten at the Eden Project, Cornwall. To date, 5000 bulbs have been planted during Get Moving week.
Get Moving is one strand of 'Time to Change', a groundbreaking new four-year awareness programme that aims to improve public attitudes towards mental health and challenge stigma and discrimination which is being led by Mind, Rethink, Mental Health Media and the Institute of Psychiatry. Time to Change is mental health's biggest ever voluntary-sector led initiative with funding from the Big Lottery Fund's Well-being programme (£16m) and the largest grant ever given by Comic Relief (£2m). On 1 October 2008 a new website, www.time-to-change.org.uk, went live as well as a pilot of a local awareness-raising campaign in Cambridge.
Mel C, who has been open about her experience of depression, 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."
The total amount of miles walked at Battersea will add to the target already reached of having at least 10,000 miles walked from Totnes to Tunbridge Wells to Trafford during Get Moving. Throughout the week, organisations such as BTCV, Ramblers Association and Natural England, as well as groups and individuals, have been taking part in events including running, football, gardening and dancing.
One in four people will experience a mental health problem at some point yet there is still vast public misunderstanding about mental health issues and attitudes have worsened over recent years. Based on international evidence of what works, Get Moving will bring people with and without experience of mental health problems together through fun activities to break down the barriers.
Joe McGann said: "I've long had a propensity for depression and I have found exercise, especially outdoors and in nature, to be an effective way to improve my mood. It always helps. By bringing together people who have experienced mental health problems with those who haven't, it would be nice to see Get Moving week help improve public attitudes towards mental health and reduce some of the stigma and discrimination that still exist in society today."
Exercise is proven to be an excellent way to give your mind and body a workout. Research by Mind showed that just one walk in the countryside could substantially reduce feelings of depression and increase self esteem. We want people to Get Moving all year round by encouraging participants to pledge to increase their activity levels for the next 12 months on the website. Get Moving will take place annually in the run-up to 2012 by which time we aim to have at least 250,000 participants.
Mind's Chief Executive Paul Farmer said: "This World Mental Health Day sees the celebration of the most ambitious and significant mental health movement of our time and marks the start of a new and exciting approach to tackling mental health stigma. By bringing people together in fun activities all over England, we hope to challenge misconceptions about mental health problems and raise awareness of the benefits that exercise has on mental health."
Alan Johnson, Secretary of State for Health, said: "Get Moving is exactly the kind of campaign we need to improve people's mental wellbeing, as well as encouraging physical fitness. I congratulate all involved and am confident the campaign will help challenge some of the negative attitudes to mental health problems."
Peter Wanless, Chief Executive of the Big Lottery Fund, said: "I am delighted that this £16m Big Lottery Fund investment is making such a vital difference in working to reduce stigma and discrimination against people experiencing mental health problems across England. This week's exciting programme of national events is an excellent example of how lottery funding can help to bring together people of all ages and abilities across the community to promote the health and wellbeing of some of society's most vulnerable people."