PFA Scotland is delighted to announce it has signed up to The Mental Health Charter for Sport and Recreation.
The Sport and Recreation Alliance alongside the Professional Players Federation and with support from the mental health charity Mind, today launched The Mental Health Charter for Sport and Recreation with the backing of the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg.
The Mental Health Charter for Sport and Recreation sets out how sport can use its collective power to tackle mental ill health and the stigma that surrounds it. The country’s biggest sports organisations, including The FA, LTA, RFU, ECB and UK Athletics, have already signed-up.
The Charter aims to tackle stigma using the power of sport and recreation, emphasise the benefits to mental health and wellbeing of an active lifestyle and to encourage the wider sector to showcase best practice and to make real progress in tackling issues around mental health.
Physical activity is good for your body but it’s great for your mind too. Every year, one-in-four people will experience a mental health problem. Yet it is still something much of the population is reluctant to talk about or address, with 90% of people with mental health problems having experienced discrimination.
This is something that has to change.
Fraser Wishart, Chief Executive of PFA Scotland, said: “PFA Scotland is delighted to sign up to the Charter. The mental health of our members has become a major issue for us as the players’ union. Our “Mind Games” video was hugely successful in raising awareness and addressing the stigma often attached to mental health.
“The Union already provides bespoke support and counselling for players working alongside SAMH and within the Mental Health in Football Forum in Scotland. Issues affecting players range from anxiety to lack of emotion and confidence and in worst cases suicidal tendencies.
“By continuing to work with these agencies, our PPF colleagues and player associations in other sports along with the governing bodies we can encourage anyone, not only our members, who has any problems to come forward and talk about them.”
Emma Boggis, Chief Executive of the Sport and Recreation Alliance wants more people to understand the impact of physical activity on mental wellbeing: “Evidence from our research report Game of Life outlined how exercise can be as effective as anti-depressants for those with mild clinical depression.
“This is one of those areas where sport and physical activity really can change lives but there’s not enough awareness of it as a treatment or as a way of preventing people from falling into poor mental health in the first place.
“Too much of the association between sport and mental health is negative – like when a top athlete suffers problems. We want to re-frame that relationship so that people understand that sport is a positive place for conversations about mental health.”
Brendon Batson OBE, Executive Chairman of the Professional Players Federation, believes that sport can make a real difference to mental health: “By de-stigmatising mental health in sport and by promoting physical activity as a way of treating poor mental health, organisations signing up to the Charter will be making a difference to people across the UK.”
The Charter outlines five actions that we, as a sector, can take to help make mental health a commonly understood matter and to help those in need.
• Use the power of sport and recreation to promote wellbeing, with a special focus on encouraging physical activity and social interaction for their contribution to good mental health.
• Publicly promote and adopt good mental health policies and best practice within our sports and recreational activities.
• Promote positive public health messages using diverse role models and ambassadors to reduce the stigma attached to mental health problems.
• Actively tackle discrimination on the grounds of mental health to ensure that everyone is treated with dignity and respect.
• Support the establishment of a pan-sport platform to work closely with the mental health sector to develop and share networks, resources and best practice.
• Regularly monitor our performance, assess progress and take positive action on mental health issues.