youth sports teamNew research from Mind has found that 80% of people with mental health problems who do not take part in sport, are put off because they feel self-conscious about their bodies.

Nearly 70% of people told Mind that they feel their mental health makes taking part too difficult as part of research ahead of the charity launching it's new 'Get Set to Go' programme to support 75,000 people with mental health problems to take up sport.

The programme, supported by Sport England and the National Lottery, will help people with mental health problems become more active through sports projects at eight local Minds. People taking part will receive one-to-one support from others with shared experiences, who understand the additional challenges a mental health problem presents to those who want to get active.

Of those who do take part in sport, more than one in five say it is because their GP or another health professional had recommended it, while more than ninety per cent participate because it is good for their mental wellbeing. Nearly three quarters of people with mental health problems say they enjoy taking part in sport, or exercising, however around nearly two thirds are worried about taking part in sport by themselves.

Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, the mental health charity, says: “Our research shows that people with mental health problems do want to participate in sport, however feelings of low self-confidence, exhaustion or fear of crowded spaces are preventing them from getting started.

“We want more people with mental health problems to be able to enjoy exercising and Get Set to Go will help people to better look after their physical and mental health through sport. Our online community, Elefriends, is also a great place to find support and advice from others with mental health problems who use sport and exercise to stay well.”

Research into outdoor exercise and mental health
The findings come as Manchester Metropolitan University researcher is looking for people to take part in a study into whether taking part in outdoor exercise has a positive effect on mental health.

The research, which is taking place at the University’s Cheshire campus, is looking into the psychological benefits that people may gain by being physically active in different environments.

There is also an opportunity for the public to get involved by answering a simple questionnaire about their levels of physical activity and levels of well-being and anxiety.

Researcher Emma Lawton is looking for men and women over 18 years old who participate in at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of physical activity per week to complete a 15 minute online questionnaire.

These activities can range from brisk walking and gardening, to running or carrying heavy groceries. The research is part of the student’s Master’s degree in Exercise and Sport Psychology.

Lawton said: “Physical activity in nature has a mixed response in research. I want to find out whether the psychological benefits of physical activity vary across different activity environments. We have already had some interesting findings, but we need more people to take part in the study.”

To take part in the survey, go to: