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Leading research team supports mission to enhance sport's contribution to mental health and wellbeing

Source: NCSEM 20th May 21



A team of leading researchers has been commissioned to support the joint mission of the Sport for Development Coalition and Mind to enhance the contribution that sport and physical activity can make to addressing the mental health and wellbeing crisis brought on by Covid-19. The team, drawn from Loughborough University and Edge Hill University, will work with the Coalition and Mind to produce an evidence-based report and briefing papers to support future policy, commissioning approaches, spending measures and programme methodology. 

There is wide-ranging evidence for the role sport and physical activity can play in maintaining and improving mental wellbeing, including the alleviation of stress or PTSD, a selection of which is available in this review published by Sport England. Meanwhile the Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine UK reports that the Royal College of Psychiatrists recognise “exercise prescription as a treatment modality for a wide range of mental health conditions”. Nonetheless it warns there is still “a stigma that surrounds people suffering with mental health conditions, which can act as a barrier to physical activity and participation in sport”.  

The briefing and policy recommendations produced through this process will specifically focus on addressing the inequitable impact of the pandemic across different communities and groups with a particular focus on differences based on age, ethnicity, disability, geography and economic status.

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