PRESS RELEASE: Using physical activity to improve mental health

Football activity as part of Get Set to Go

Dorset Mind & Active Dorset are using the power of physical activity to improve mental health 

Dorset Mind, the local mental health charity, has won funding by Sport England and the National Lottery. This support will help people to try physical activity to help improve their mental health.

Through this work, Dorset Mind will support people experiencing mental health conditions – such as depression and anxiety – to build their confidence to join clubs, go to the gym or take up a new activity.

Physical activity – the evidence

The ‘Get Set to Go’ programme launched in 2015. Since then, more than 3,500 people with mental health problems have benefited and tried out new activities in a relaxed and friendly environment. An independent research team from Loughborough University conducted a two-year study which showed that 78% of people rated it as very good or excellent after just 6 months.

People with a mental health diagnosis who have taken part in the programme say that it not only increased their activity levels over a 12-month period, but also helped them feel more resilient and better able to cope with challenging life events. The hope is that people in Dorset will benefit from this new phase of Get Set to Go.

In this new phase of the programme, Mind aims to support over 120,000 people with mental health problems across the country to be more active through its work in communities and partners in the physical activity sector.

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.”

A new partnership for Dorset

Dorset Mind will work closely with partners Active Dorset and Dorset Race Equality Council to deliver community sessions and to create a more inclusive and welcoming environment within local sport and leisure facilities. As part of this work, they will offer free Mental Health Awareness for Sport and Physical Activity (MHASPA) training to sport sector staff, developed by UK Coaching.

They will train Peer Volunteers, who understand how mental health problems can be a barrier to getting active, to support participants to attend Get Set to Go sessions and try out different activities in their community.

Gary Head, Active Dorset Operations Manager commented; “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Dorset Mind on this innovative and exciting project. We know that this positive impact on the mental health of disadvantaged and under-represented groups in our county and our relationship with Dorset Race Equality Council will be pivotal to that.”

Dorset Mind have just appointed a new Project Manager to drive this project forward and will be running a number of taster sessions over the coming months where you can try out different activities and see what suits you.