On World Mental Health Day 2019, it is worth reminding ourselves of the proven difference sport and physical activity can make to our mental well-being. Mental health is complex, difficult, and treatment isn’t easy, and often inaccessible, and nor is it simply a case of ‘reaching out’. Let’s be clear – taking up sport and physical activity will not cure all of your ills, but it can certainly help.
There is now overwhelming evidence that physical activity can help prevent and manage mental health problems. However, athletes have often tended not to seek support for mental health problems – mostly because of the perceived stigma, the idea that seeking help is a sign of weakness, and a lack of understanding about mental health and its influence on performance.
Happily, sport is learning fast and developing much more thorough and robust structures to support sportsmen and women suffering with mental health problems, and awareness is growing all the time.
Engaging in regular physical activity can improve mental health in a number of ways. It can help with:
- better sleep
- happier moods
- managing stress, anxiety or intrusive and racing thoughts
- improved self-esteem
- connecting with people and making friends
Making PE a core subject
With the mounting evidence that sport is every bit as good for our mental well-being as it is our physical well-being, we believe PE should be given priority as core subject status alongside maths and English. In a recent major survey carried out by the Youth Sport Trust, a whopping two thirds of respondents said they ‘strongly agreed’ that PE should be elevated to core subject status – and a petition along those lines has gathered over 16,000 signatures. If you agree, please sign and share.
Mike Diaper of Sport England said:
Our research shows that young people who are active report higher levels of happiness, are more trusting of other children and have higher levels of resilience. Add that to the wealth of evidence that shows that active children can have higher levels of academic attainment, concentration and better attendance and it’s clear that PE should be given the same priority as core subjects such as maths and English. mike diaper, sport england
At KUDOS, we not only have a burning passion for sport itself – both playing and watching – but we believe in the transformative power of sport. Sport and physical activity must be a central tenet of a holistic education and approach towards a fitter and happier nation. To mark World Mental Health Day 2019, please sign the petition and remember, it’s okay to not be okay.
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