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The Mental Health Charter for Sport and Recreation was launched today at the Kia Oval and has been signed by sports organisations including the Football Association, Lawn Tennis Association, Rugby Football Union, England Cricket Board and UK Athletics. Professional player associations including the Professional Footballers Association, Rugby Players Association and Professional Cricketers’ Association have also signed the charter.
Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind says: “From the elite level down to grass roots – sport can be used to reduce stigma and encourage positive conversation about mental health, which is why we’re delighted to back the Mental Health Charter for Sport and Recreation.
“Sport brings people together. The benefits of physical activity for mental health and wellbeing are well known, and sport has been used to support people with mental health problems for some time. We are looking forward to working closely with the SRA, PPF, Sport England and sporting bodies to incorporate mental health into their strategies to make sport more accessible to people with mental health problems and use it as a force for social change.”
As an increasing number of individuals in and around the sporting world talk about mental health it’s clear that governing and representative bodies have a role to play.
Last year Mind published a report which found that professional athletes struggle in silence because for fear that asking for help with a mental health problem will negatively affect their careers.
Mind’s report called on professional sports clubs, governing bodies and community organisations to forge closer working relationships as part of a pan-sport mental health network. Mind will consult with signatories of the Mental Health Charter for Sport and Recreation to help them build mental health awareness into their strategies and offer strategic advice on influencing and engaging key stakeholders.
The Mental Health Charter for Sport and Recreation comes as Mind prepares to launch Get Set to Go in May. The project, supported by Sport England and the National Lottery, aims to improve the lives of 75,000 people with mental health problems through participation in sport.
For more information about Mind's work around sport and mental health visit www.mind.org.uk/sport