SPORT: Improving mental health through sport

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Dorset Mind has received funding from Sport England and the National Lottery to help people try out new activities and improve their physical and mental health.

The Get Set to Go programme was launched in 2015 and during its four years it has helped 3,500 people from across the country with mental health problems to try out a new sport.

An independent study team from Loughborough University conducted a two-year study which showed that 78% of people rated the scheme as very good/ excellent after six months.

The scheme is expanding to Dorset so that local people can benefit.

Marianne Storey, Dorset Mind CEO stated: “We’re delighted to have received funding from Sport England and the National Lottery to bring the Get Set to Go programme to Dorset.

“We know that physical activity can play a vital role in the lives of people with mental health problems, reducing the risk of depression by up to 30%.

“Unfortunately, we also know that many people who do want to participate in sport are being held back by their mental health, whether that’s feelings of low self-confidence, exhaustion or fear of crowded spaces.

“We look forward to supporting more people with mental health challenges in the county to enjoy the benefits of getting more active.”

NHS advice says that exercise causes positive chemical changes in the brain and can help to protect people against mild depression.

This is thought to be linked to the self-esteem boost that exercise gives us.

One Harvard study shows that running for 15 minutes a day reduces the risk of major depression by 26%,

Dorset Mind will work with Active Dorset and Dorset Race Equality Council to foster an inclusive environment locally; they will be offering free Mental Health Awareness for Sport and Physical Activity (MHASPA) training to sport sector staff.

Dorset Mind has appointed a new project manager to oversee the development of this project.

For more information head to Dorset Mind’s website.

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