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 Ambassadors
A network of volunteers in England Athletics affiliated clubs and RunTogether groups promoting mental wellbeing through running and supporting the aims of #RunAndTalk.
- Mental Health Charter
The 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.
A partnership with Mind, the mental health charity which provides expertise around mental health.
- Campaigns (currently 2)
Twice a year during a one-week period linked to Time to Talk Day (January/February) and World Mental Health Day (October) our 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.
- Visit www.runandtalk.co.uk to find a #RunAndTalk organised run
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.
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 an 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.
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.
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