The first signatories of Scotland’s Mental Health Charter for Physical Activity and Sport

Peace of mind

Making sport more accessible to people with mental health problems

We are all becoming more aware of links between our mental and physical wellbeing. But how much do you know about the impact sport can have on your mental health?

As the national agency for sport, sportscotland is urging more organisations to sign up to Scotland’s Mental Health Charter for Physical Activity and Sport following its launch in February.

The SAMH project, funded by Comic Relief, encourages physical activity and sporting communities from grassroots to the elite level to incorporate mental health into their strategies to make sport more accessible to people with mental health problems.

The charter aims to use sport to improve equality and reduce stigma through positive conversations and action on mental health. Leading the way as the first signatories of the charter were sportscotland, sporta, SPFL Trust, Jog Scotland, Glasgow Life, KA Leisure, NL Leisure, Scottish Student Sport and Oriam, all of whom will be taking action on mental health in their respective organisations.

Work on the charter was launched by Sir Chris Hoy, a SAMH Ambassador, in 2016, since when more than 300 people with lived experience have contributed to its development.

On the launch of the charter, Sir Chris said: “I am a firm believer in the link between physical and mental health and I know from experience that if I don’t get out on my bike regularly it affects my wellbeing.

“There is still a long way to go but initiatives such as this charter will certainly help remove barriers, supporting people to increase their confidence and self-esteem.

“That is why I am delighted to support Scotland’s Mental Health Charter for Physical Activity and Sport. We must ensure that having a mental health problem is never a barrier to engage, participate and achieve, whatever your goal.”

Sarah Blackmore, SAMH director of delivery and development, said: “At SAMH we know the positive impact that physical activity through sport or recreation can have on mental health and wellbeing.

“Sporting communities have a role to play in using the collective power of physical activity and sport to create positive lasting change in mental health and wellbeing.

“I urge those in sport and physical activity communities to sign up to the charter to signal to anyone with a mental health problem that there is no barrier to getting active.”

Health and wellbeing

Kirty Ewan

Stewart Harris, sportscotland chief executive, said: “It is clear from the work that we do in communities across the country the very positive and sometimes life-changing effects that physical activity and sport can have on health and wellbeing. 

“By working together, the sporting community can help break down barriers to participation, challenge stigma, and help make a very real difference to the lives of people faced with mental health problems.

“On behalf of the sporting community in Scotland we are delighted to support Scotland’s Mental Health Charter for Physical Activity and Sport.” 

Kirsty Ewen (pictured), a member of the Young People’s Sport Panel who spoke at the launch of the charter, said: “The charter is an important step in creating awareness and understanding of the role of physical activity and sport in improving lives for people experiencing mental health challenges.

“We shouldn’t be afraid to talk about it, that’s the only way we’ll change things! By speaking about it and also by completing the SAMH survey we can all help to make Scotland’s mental health better.”

Find out more

Discover more about the charter and the work of SAMH.  

Got 10 minutes? Help shape the work SAMH does to increase the representation and participation of people with lived experience of mental health problems in physical activity and sport, by filling out this short survey.

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