Mental Health Minister champions ‘Active Living’ project

14th December 2017

Minister for Mental Health Maureen Watt today champions a project in Dunfermline, which supports people who have a physical or mental health problem to get active.

SAMH’s (Scottish Association for Mental Health) ALBA (Active Living Becomes Achievable) project works in partnership with local leisure trusts in North Ayrshire, Fife and West Lothian to help individuals who want to become more active but lack the motivation, self-belief or confidence.  

Participants receive 16 weeks of one-to-one support with a Behaviour Change Practitioner alongside a physical activity programme with leisure centre staff, using fitness trackers to show their achievements and progress.  

Minister for Mental Health Maureen Watt met some of the people who use ALBA in Dunfermline as well as staff and was able to see first-hand how getting active can improve mental health and wellbeing.   

The visit was hosted by SAMH Director of Delivery and Development Sarah Blackmore who said: 

“We are delighted to welcome the Minister for Mental Health Maureen Watt to our ALBA project.  

“We know that being active isn’t just good for our physical health; it’s also proven to have a positive effect on our mental health and wellbeing. The results from our ALBA project are promising, with participants in Fife reporting a meaningful difference in their mental health*.  

“ALBA builds on participant’s motivation, confidence and resilience encouraging them to get active for their mental health.” 
An ALBA participant said: 

“I’m so impressed by how much better I’m feeling by making small changes, and the fitness tracker helps me to achieve my goals. I’m constantly trying to beat my previous target. 

“I have started walking the kids to and from school for the first time in years. It is making me feel healthy and I’m spending more time with the kids. 

“I can’t wait to see what the rest of ALBA will help me achieve.”

Minister for Mental Health Maureen Watt said:

“The Scottish Government gave SAMH almost £1 million in funding towards this project, and it’s great to see what they’ve achieved so far with ALBA in promoting positive attitudes towards mental health through physical activity. The work that is being done here demonstrates clear links to the central vision of the Scottish Government’s Mental Health Strategy, which is to work on achieving parity between mental and physical health.

“Our vision is of a Scotland where more people are more active, more often, in part because being active is good for mental wellbeing. This scheme does not just offer people the option of physical activity, it encourages and supports them to achieve goals that will make a real difference to their mental health, and they will be fully supported by SAMH throughout. Even moderate physical activity can have remarkable benefits for mental wellbeing, and I believe ALBA is going to be extremely beneficial to those who take part.”

*12 participants completed the 16 week intervention in Fife with changes in their Mental Wellbeing Scores measured by the WEMWBS. Participants average score before the ALBA intervention was 39.2. Whilst this falls below the national average, participants WEMBS scores increased by 5 points over the 16 weeks intervention.