Our #RunAndTalk programme has been created with the aim of improving mental health through running in England. Supported by Mind, the mental health charity, we want to:
- get people talking about mental health, sharing their experiences and removing stigma
- provide support and guidance to raise awareness of mental health problems
- support people experiencing mental health problems to be physically active through running, whether that is to support them in starting, returning to or continuing to run.
The programme has four main areas::
Mental Health Champions and AmbassadorsA network of volunteers in England Athletics affiliated clubs and RunTogether groups promoting mental wellbeing through running and supporting the aims of #RunAndTalk.
Mental Health CharterThe Mental Health Charter for Sport and Recreation was developed by the sector for the sector with the support of mental health charity Mind and Time to Change.
PartnershipsA partnership with Mind, the mental health charity which provides expertise around mental health.
During a one-week period our national digital campaign #RunAndTalk encourages people to run one mile or further and to have a chat with friends, family, colleagues or other runners whilst doing it. This can be done at a time and location of their choice or by joining one of the organised runs at an England Athletics affiliated club or RunTogether group.
To support Mental Health Awareness week in May our national digital campaign, similar to #RunAndTalk, aims to support young people’s mental health through running.
We also support other national campaigns such as Time to Talk Day (February) and World Mental Health Day (October).
Mental Health Champions and Ambassadors
As part of the #RunAndTalk programme we aim to establish a network of volunteers across affiliated clubs and RunTogether groups in England to:
- promote mental wellbeing through running by supporting the aims of #RunAndTalk
- work with their club/group to support its members to improve their mental health through running.
- support new people who are experiencing mental health problems to start running, get back into running, or continue running.
There are 2 volunteer support roles, Mental Health Champions and Mental Health Ambassadors. There is no hierarchy to the roles but each has a different remit and require different levels of qualifications.
Our aim is to one day have a Mental Health Champion in every England Athletics affiliated club and RunTogether group in England so that people experiencing mental health problems can access the benefits of running in a supported way.
The Role of a Mental Health Champion
Mental Health Champions will:
- Be nominated and appointed by an England Athletics affiliated club or RunTogether group.
- Have lived experience of a mental health problem, either personally or from a close relative or friend.
- Have an open and non-judgmental attitude.
- Adopt a positive, patient and supportive approach towards supporting people with mental health problems.
- Be a positive role model.
- Behave in a professional, confidential and non-discriminatory manner at all times and promote equal opportunities for all.
Please note any Mental Health Champions supporting anyone under 18 years of age should be DBS checked.
Along with any other Mental Health Champions from the club/group they will:
- Support #RunAndTalk campaigns and register an organised run for each event.
- Provide crisis contacts to their club/group.
- Be a point of contact for anyone experiencing mental health problems to join the club/group.
- Encourage and promote conversations about mental health.
- Make links with mental health organisations in the community.
- Actively promote mental wellbeing and running
Mental Health Champions do not act as a practitioner for providing mental health support but will be provided with information and guidance on how to help someone access support.
Blog from one of our Mental Health Champions
An excellent blog from one of our much-valued #RunAndTalk Mental Health Champions – Kate Bone from Muddy Runners. This was first published for World Mental Health Day 2020.
How RunTogether Groups Can Join the #RunAndTalk Programme
RunTogether groups can apply to be part of the #RunAndTalk programme and appoint Mental Health Champions on their behalf.
Applications are taken 4 times a year during application windows which will open for a month at a time. The application windows are in January, May, July and October and information is provided here and in the RunTogether newsletter. Those clubs/groups that apply will be contacted at the end of the month window with further information.
There are four application periods each year (January, spring, summer and autumn).
In registering to join the programme clubs and groups are committing to:
1. Identify and appoint an appropriate person/people to act as Mental Health Champions on behalf of the club. This can be any number based on what you deem appropriate for the size/nature of the club/group, but we recommend where possible at least 2 so they can work together and share the load.
2. Provide the necessary support to Mental Health Champions to carry out their role within the club/group. For example agreeing an action plan of activity, ensuring regular updates etc.
3. Support #RunAndTalk campaigns for Time to Talk Day in February and World Mental Health Day in October and register an organised run for each event (this can be an existing run it does not need to be a separate event).
4. Provide crisis contacts for members of the club/group (these will be provided to your Mental Health Champions to pass on).
5. Encourage and promote conversations about mental health.
6. Make links with mental health organisations in the community via your Mental Health Champion(s).
7. Actively promote mental well-being and running.
Clubs/groups may also decide to do additional activities outside of these 7 areas if they wish.
There is lots of support available to help with your mental health, simply CLICK HERE
UPDATE (2 APRIL 2020)
Unfortunately, due to the coronavirus outbreak, UK government directives and the shutdown of much of the education sector, we have made the decision to stop all activity for #RunAndRevise 2020. We hope to return with the campaign in 2021.
However, during the current period, whilst we are all affected in some way by coronavirus, we still recognise the importance of mental health as well as physical health. As part of the Athletics & Running For Everyone @home campaign, we have created a range of useful tips, advice and links to mental health support so that you can protect your mental wellbeing at that of others. Click here to read more.
We also continue to have additional mental health information and support through our #RunAndTalk campaign and our network of Mental Health Champions operating within clubs and groups.
Helping 16 to 25 year olds to #RunAndRevise
The #RunAndRevise campaign, from England Athletics and supported by Mind the mental health charity, encourages students aged 16-18 at school, or aged 18-25 at college or university, to take a break from revision, relieve exam stress and improve their mental wellbeing through running.
The campaign launched in 2019 with England Athletics affiliated clubs and partners, along with RunTogether groups and educational organisations, getting involved by registering to host an organised #RunAndRevise run during Mental Health Awareness Week.
Students were then able to sign-up to join an organised run, of a mile or further, to improve their mental wellbeing and to talk about mental health during this important study period.
Promote your runs
If you have signed up to host an organised run then we want you to be able to promote your run as effectively as possible. To help you do this, we have created a range of free-to-access, customisable and downloadable promotional materials on our MarketingHub. This includes posters, social media images and text, templated letters and also a range of support documents.
- If you are hosting your run within a RunTogether group, then you can access the assets via the RunTogether MarketingHub
- If you are an England Athletics affiliated club you can access the assets through the England Athletics MarketingHub
You will need to register a login if you do not already have access.
- If you are from an outside organisation hosting a run (i.e. a school) then you can also access the assets via the England Athletics MarketingHub
You will need to select the option to register as an ‘England Athletics Partner’.
Don’t forget to promote your #RunAndRevise session on social media using the hashtag #RunAndRevise on @RunTogether_ (Twitter & Instagram), @RunTogetherSocial (Facebook), @EnglandAthletic (Twitter) or @EnglandAthletics (Facebook & Instagram)
Please use the hashtag #RunAndRevise when promoting your session and tag and/or where possible.
Useful contacts and support
Study and revision resources.
Childline 0800 1111
Free 24-hour helpline for children and young people in the UK.
Online guide to life for 16-25 year olds. Straight-talking emotional support is available 24 hours a day. Chat about any issue on our moderated discussion boards and live chat room. The Mix offers lots of useful advice about exam revision: Revision Tips link Exam Stress link
Papyrus Helpline: 0800 068 41 41 firstname.lastname@example.org
Provides information and support for anyone under 35 who is struggling with suicidal feelings, or anyone concerned about a young person who might be struggling.
Parenting and Family Support- Family Lives (formerly Parentline Plus) Helpline: 0808 800 2222
Support to anyone parenting a child.
Samaritans 24-hour helpline: 116 123 (freephone)
Emotional support for anyone feeling down, experiencing distress or struggling to cope.
Youth Access 020 8772 9900
Operates a network of membership organisations which provide local information, advice and counselling services: the Youth Access website and helpline can direct you to services in your area.
Young Minds Helpline (for any adult with concerns about the mental health of a child or young person) 0808 802 5544. (general enquiries) 020 7089 5050
National charity committed to improving the mental health of all babies, children and young people. Provides information for both parents and young people.
#RunAndRevise is part of the England Athletics #RunAndTalk programme.