World Mental Health Day


Friday 10 October marks World Mental Health Day. Many people run to clear their head, have some me time and just generally feel better.

Mental illness is a rapidly growing problem in the UK with 1 in 4 people affected each year. Despite strong evidence of the benefits of sport and physical activity on our mental health only 16% of people with mental health conditions take part in sport or physical activity (once a week) compared to 35.7% of non-disabled people (Active People Survey 7). EFDS Disabled People’s Lifestyle Survey 2013 showed that people experiencing mental health conditions were twice as likely as the national average to take part in sport or physical activity alone

Regular participation in sport and physical activity has shown to have significant benefits on our health. England Athletics recognises the contribution that athletics can play in supporting wellbeing and mental health and is encouraging clubs and groups to get involved to promote their activities as a way to reduce anxiety and improve mental and physical well-being.

HEFE female running

Get involved

Here are some ideas of how you could get involved:

  • Set up a Run England group at work.
  • Organise a mental well-being athletics taster session at your club.
  • Advertise your existing club/group activity with local mental health groups.
  • Volunteer for an athletics club.
  • Find a Run England 3-2-1 route nearby to get you started - on your own, with a friend or in a running group.  Pilot routes in Berkshire are being promoted through the NHS and other local mental health organisations to try and increase participation by people experiencing mental health conditions.

10 ways to look after your mental health

  1. Keep active: Take on one of the challenges at or find something local to take part in. If running is your thing, look for local runs, or find a group at
  2. Talk: Hold a Tea & Talk! Get together with friends, family or colleagues and have a good old natter!
  3. Eat well: Organise a Come Dine with Me dinner challenge, a smoothie sale, or Bake Off at work
  4. Drink sensibly: Replace alcohol with your favourite juices to create exciting and healthy non-alcoholic Mocktails!
  5. Keep in touch with friends and loved ones: a dinner party, BBQ or picnic
  6. Ask for help: Don’t go it alone - create an awareness raising committee, or learn a technique called mindfulness to help yourself cope.
  7. Take a break: Kick back, relax and enjoy a pamper party. Combine a longer break with a unique and challenging experience by joining one of the Mental Health Foundation's overseas treks!
  8. Doing something you’re good at: Why not organise a small class to share your skills and teach other people how to do it?
  9. Accept who you are: Be true to yourself, make sure you feel comfortable with your plans and set yourself realistic goals.
  10. Care for others: Ask friends and family to donate to the MHF instead of buying you gifts, or run an Auction of promises.

Workplace group menUseful resources

  • England Athletics and Sport in Mind ‘Mental Health and Athletics’ resource: support your club or group leaders/coaches to develop their knowledge around mental health. Click here to download the document.
  • Mental Health kit produced by the Mental Health Foundation earlier this year: promote your club or running group's activities as a way to reduce anxiety and improve mental and physical well-being. The kit contains lots of useful information and facts, can help you organise an event, do some fundraising and provides some pointers on how to look after the mental health of yourself or someone you know. Click here to download the document.
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