Launch of Scotland’s Mental Health Charter

1st February 2018

Friday 2nd February 2018 marks the launch of ‘Scotland’s Mental Health Charter for Physical Activity and Sport’ which aims to use sport to improve equality and reduce stigma through positive conversations and action on mental health.

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

Leading the way as the first signatories of the Charter are sportscotland, sporta, SPFL Trust, Jog Scotland, Glasgow Life, KA Leisure, NL Leisure and Oriam and will be taking action on mental health in their respective organisations.

This 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.

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”

SAMH Director of Delivery and Development Sarah Blackmore 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.”

On behalf of the Charter steering group sportscotland Chief Executive Stewart Harris 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.”

SAMH media volunteer Craig Seymour, 24, from Dunfermline said:

“My mental health deteriorated after being diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) caused by a football injury. Unable to play football and get active the way I was used to whilst trying to manage my physical pain; I started to feel suicidal and was later diagnosed with depression at 21.

“My doctor suggested I try to get active again in some way, and this is where my recovery really started.

“Through walking and going to the gym, I was able to set and achieve my goals giving me great focus and motivation. The reassurance and support I received from my gym gave me such confidence to keep going.”

Scotland’s Mental Health Charter for Physical Activity and Sport comes as SAMH looks forward to a big year on this issue with results emerging from its work on ALBA (Active Living Becomes Achievable), Jog Scotland and The Changing Room; behaviour change programmes aimed at improving the lives of thousands of people, supporting them to become active.