Let's Talk About Mental Health

At England Athletics, mental health is a year-round subject. The mental health charity Mind has reported that more than half of adults, and over two thirds of young people, say that their mental health has got worse during the pandemic. That’s why we’re hosting a series of online Let’s Talk About Mental Health events throughout 2021 and 2022 – to get the sport talking!

Through six speaker and panel sessions, we’ll be sharing stories of personal mental health experiences, discussing what we can do to support mental health through athletics and running, and sharing how you can access support through our #RunAndTalk programme.

So why not come and join the conversation? Take a look at our sessions and sign-up free  for upcoming webinars or watch again!

Session 4 – guest panel discussion hosted by Donna Fraser (18 November 2021)

Join us on Thursday 18 November 5:45pm-6:45pm for the fourth in our Let’s Talk About Mental Health series.

Donna Fraser (host)

Donna FraserDonna Fraser is a 4x Olympian and former 400m sprinter for Great Britain, with a successful athletics career which spanned over 20 years and has a host of European, Commonwealth and World medals.  In 2021 she was awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire) for services to equality, diversity and inclusion in the workplace and has served as a Trustee, advisor and Board member for multiple organisations, such as the London Marathon Charitable Trust, Women’s Sports Trust, British Athletes Commission, International Women’s Group and Her Spirit to name a few.

Panel members:

  • Leonard and Shelby WIlliamsShelby Williams – LIONS Running Community, Mental Health Champion and North West Regional Council Member
    Shelby has been a runner since childhood, captaining her sports team at junior school and winning her first running trophy at the age of 13. In 2019 Shelby was awarded both the National England Athletics Run Leader of the year award and the North West RunTogether Run Leader of the Year. As a voluntary running coach and leader, Shelby’s approach to running and coaching is inclusive and fun, whilst encouraging people to be the best they can be which is why she believes she has maintained a large core group of runners who are on one hand at the competitive edge of running to the more recreational runner who enjoys running for the more social aspects. Having trained as a fitness instructor, Shelby also enjoys developing the strength and conditioning aspects of runners, which she believes is key to longevity in running. Shelby is also a Mental Health Champion for England Athletics and recognises that people who have poor mental health may find the prospect of starting running or joining a group daunting. But she believes that if those barriers can be broken down through the right support, then running can help improve mental health. As a Guide Runner, Shelby is also keen to encourage people with a visual impairment to seek support so they can enjoy running to. Over the years Shelby has enjoyed running around the world including in London as one of the first runners to cross the finish line at the Olympic Stadium; Las Vegas, Paris, New York and Canada.
  • Sabrina Pace-Humphries – Black Trail Runners and UKA Race Equality Network member
  • Ian BraidIan Braid
    Ian is the founder and MD of DOCIAsport, a company that won a national award “Mental Health Consultancy of the Year” for his work in the sport sector. Before setting up DOCIAsport Ian was CEO of the British Athletes Commission, the association for Olympic and Paralympic athletes in over 40 sports. During his time as the CEO Ian offered advice support and guidance to the members and played a key role in the government review of ‘Duty of Care in Sport’ led by Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson.

Click to register for free

Session 3 – Speaker event with Jack Green (20 September 2021)

Double Olympian, mental health advocate, wellbeing consultant, and Founder of Olywel. Despite a successful career as an elite athlete and double Olympian, Jack has battled with his own mental health for many years – and because of that, he knows how poor mental health can impact a person, their performance, and their everyday life (particularly when they don’t have the right support in place). Jack shared his story and how he’s supporting others to improve their mental health.

Session 2 – guest panel discussion hosted by Donna Fraser (23 June 2021)

With Donna Fraser (Head of Inclusion & Engagement at Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games), Hayley Jarvis (Head of Sport and Physical Activity at Mind the mental health charity), Joe Fuggle (former GB hurdler and founder of The Athlete Place), and English 1500m Champion Danielle Hodgkinson and Army mental health nurse.

Watch the video below if you missed the session or click to view video on YouTube.

Session 1 – guest speaker Ben Smith (26 April 2021)

For the first session in our Let’s Talk About Mental Health series, we heard from Ben Smith. In 2015, Ben set off on an unimaginable challenge, running 401 marathons in 401 days. He raised £330,000 for two anti-bullying charities. His adventure inspired hundreds of thousands around the globe to not only make a difference in their own lives, but in the lives of others. Now, Ben shares his own mental health experiences – all with the aim of helping everyone to ‘find your happy’. In 2022, Ben will take on his next extraordinary adventure – running and cycling 14,000 miles across all 50 US states in just 104 days to raise £500,000 for mental health charities.

Watch the video below to find out more about Ben’s 401 Challenge or click to view video on YouTube.


Future sessions:

Please check back on this page and follow our social media channels or email communications for updates on further speaker and panel discussion events in our Let’s Talk About Mental Health series.  Future sessions will include speakers and panel guests from Mind, the mental health charity, as well as Olympian Jack Green, GB athlete Pippa Woolven, and our England Athletics club Mental Health Champions.

If you’d like to be notified by email when new sessions are announced then please fill in the expression of interest form below:

  • As the data controller, England Athletics Limited take the protection of the data that we hold about our customers seriously and will do everything possible to ensure that data is collected, stored, processed, maintained, cleansed and retained in accordance with current and future UK data protection legislation and our privacy policy. In this instance we are collecting your personal data in order to send you updates on the Let’s Talk About Mental Health series.