A SCOTTISH charity has launched a new initiative using the power of sport to help people manage their mental health and wellbeing.
The Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) is urging community sports clubs and organisations to help break down barriers by encouraging people to connect with others in their local area through sports and physical activity.
It is part of Scotland’s Mental Health Charter for Physical Activity and Sport, which has made great progress in supporting people to increase their confidence and reduce isolation.
Chief executive of mental health charity SAMH, Billy Watson said: “We are now targeting local clubs and community organisations from the borders to our islands who can help people with mental health problems access sports and physical activity.
“There is a sport out there for everyone, whether it’s a local walking group or trying bowls to more accessible sports like Pickleball or Boccia. But it’s the mental benefits that we hear time and time again as making the real difference.
“Sports clubs can create a warm and welcoming environment for like-minded people and can help to widen social circles, which is a great driver for breaking down the barriers to physical activity and sport.”
SAMH currently operates over 60 services in communities across Scotland providing mental health social care support, addictions and employment services, among others.
Sports Minister Maree Todd said: “The Scottish Government is a strong supporter of Scotland’s Mental Health Charter for Physical Activity and Sport and believe in the link between physical, mental and social health.
“This is an important step in making sure this work continues to grow in the future and I look forward to many more organisations across Scotland signing up to the Charter.”
Sportscotland was one of the first organisations to sign up for Scotland’s Mental Health Charter for Physical Activity and Sport.
Stewart Harris, chief executive of sportscotland, said: “We know from our work in communities across the country that sport and physical activity has a very positive and sometimes life-changing effect on health and wellbeing. But it is also clear that we must do more to encourage people to take advantage of the opportunities available to them.
“By working in collaboration, the sporting system across Scotland can help break down barriers to participation, challenge stigma, and help make a very real difference to the lives of those people faced with mental health challenges.”
Source: The National