Sporting heroes join SAMH

Sir Chris Hoy and Adam Peaty have joined forces with SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health) today, Friday 10 August. The Olympic stars are urging sports clubs across the country to encourage more people to get physically active to improve their mental wellbeing.

As the inaugural European Championships comes to an end in Glasgow this weekend, the sporting legends are asking organisations and clubs to get on board and inspire people across the country to embrace the sporting spirit and make a positive difference to their lives.

SAMH ambassador Sir Chris Hoy has been supporting the wider work of the charity since 2009, in particular, helping people use participation in sport as a way of tackling mental health problems.

Scotland’s Mental Health Charter for Physical Activity and Sport is the charity’s latest programme with groups covering various sports and activities from rollerblading to basketball, yoga to football – all signing up to create positive lasting change in people’s mental wellbeing.

At an event held in George Square, the Olympians addressed an audience of sporting groups about the positive effect physical activity has on our mental wellbeing and the importance of continued funding for programmes like the Charter.  

Sir Chris Hoy, SAMH ambassador, said: “Everyone should have the chance to get active and learn to use physical activity and sport to help live a happier, healthier life and we need to ensure funding is in place to deliver initiatives to support this.

“I myself have truly benefitted from the positive impact of physical activity and there should never be barriers to prevent anyone from getting active.

“SAMH is leading the way in Scotland ensuring sporting organisations and groups recognise the power of physical activity and encourage everyone to take part in their activities no matter who they are or what their personal struggle may be.”

Research from the charity highlights the less physical activity a person does, the more likely they are to experience low mood, depression, tension and worry.

Adam Peaty, speaking for the first time for the charity, said: “We need to remove any barriers for people with mental health problems to participate in physical activity and sport.

“I know the power that being active can have in helping overcome negative feelings, and the importance of being able to ask for help.

“Sporting organisations can really make a difference by welcoming, and encouraging everyone, especially people with mental health problems to participate in activities.”

This all comes as SAMH looks forward to another big year on physical activity and sport. Behavior change programmes such as ALBA (Active Living Becomes Achievable), Jog Scotland and The Changing Room aim to improve the lives of thousands of people, supporting them to become active. However, funding for this vital work comes to end over the next 18 months.

Billy Watson, chief executive of SAMH, said: “We know sporting communities have a huge role to play to help create positive lasting change in mental health and wellbeing and today Sir Chris and Adam have highlighted the positive impact sport and physical activity can have.

“We are confident following the excitement of another global sporting event being held in Scotland that more groups and organisations will be encouraged to come forward and join the 60 other organisations who have signed up to Scotland’s Mental Health Charter for Physical Activity and Sport.”

More information on the charter and how getting active can help your mental wellbeing can be found here.

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