It’s Scottish Disability Sport Week

30th November 2023

It’s Scottish Disability Sport Week

This week, SAMH is proud to be supporting Scottish Disability Sport Week (Monday 27 November – Sunday 3 December 2023), playing our part in highlighting how and why disabled people in Scotland should consider getting as active as they can.

Almost 40 percent of people with a mental health problem also have a physical impairment. At SAMH, we have long recognised the role that physical activity and sport can play in helping to build confidence, and to form social connections and a sense of belonging. We also know that disabled people may face barriers to participating in physical activity, and we want to help them recognise ways to take part that will suit their individual needs.

SAMH has been working in partnership with Scottish Disability Sport (SDS) for the past five years, and in that time, both sides of the partnership have benefited.

Our award-winning programme, Be Active Be Well, has seen us provide both online and in-person activity and wellbeing sessions. This included sessions centred around the five ways to better wellbeing - connect, be active, take notice, learn and give.

Through SDS’s Young Start group, we’ve helped to build capacity and knowledge of mental health for disabled people and those who want to engage them in more physical activity and sporting opportunities.

This programme has introduced us to some amazing young people with incredible talent, enabling them to get involved in designing and delivering mental wellbeing resources through the lens of disability. The passion we’ve seen has been incredible, and many of the young people involved have gone on support other initiatives with SAMH as a result, including training to become peer mentors, and carrying out student placements with us. The programme really has opened the door for further opportunities for them to learn, grow, and share their expertise; and crucially, it’s given us so much insight into the links between physical disability and mental health, and what we can do to ensure that everyone is able to participate in physical activity.

SDS staff have received mental health training sessions, and had the opportunity to reflect on this learning as a staff team. And we’re currently working with the SDS Athlete Academy to deliver sessions on mental health and wellbeing which will help to build understanding, awareness, knowledge and skills around looking after themselves.

Through all of this work, we’ve noticed the huge impact that being active can have on people with disabilities, including an increase in confidence and self-esteem, and forming better social connections.

Of course, our work together doesn’t end here. SDS is signed up to Scotland’s Mental Health Charter for Physical Activity and Sport, and we’re planning to work together to design specific assets for them to use as part of this which focus on disabled people.

We also plan to work with their Young Persons’ Sports Panel, including co-designing a new workshop with their latest cohort, which will focus on developing resilience skills in young disabled people.

At SAMH, we recognise that we all have mental health, and that what helps us to manage our mental health is as individual as we are. Through our partnership with SDS, we hope to make sure that everyone with a disability is empowered to find a way that they can get active in a way that works for them.

Find out more about Scottish Disability Sport and how they can help disabled people get involved in sport and physical activity: