Our #RunAndTalk programme, supported by Mind – the mental health charity, has been created with the aim of improving mental health through running in England.
Affiliated clubs and RunTogether groups can apply to be part of the #RunAndTalk programme (appointing their Mental Health Champions as part of the process). There are four application periods each year (January, spring, summer and autumn). Applications are now open 1-31 October; click here to apply online.
The #RunAndTalk programme aims 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. Clubs and groups that sign-up to take part in the #RunAndTalk programme are required to appoint a Mental Health Champion – whose role is to support people to access the mental wellbeing benefits of running, remove stigma and get people talking about mental health. Mental Health Champions can also have an opportunity to apply to become a Mental Health Ambassador – continuing their role as a Mental Health Champion but also supporting other Champions and providing an advisory role to England Athletics and #RunAndTalk. Click to find out more.
Mental Health Charter
Setting out how running, and sport and physical activity as a whole, can adopt good mental health practice to make activities inclusive, positive and open to everyone.
A partnership with Mind, the mental health charity which provides expertise around mental health.
During a one-week period our national 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.
To support Mental Health Awareness week in May our national digital campaign, similar to #RunAndTalk, aims to support young people’s mental health through running. This campaign was postponed in 2020 due to Covid-19 and will next take place in 2021.
We also support other national campaigns such as Time to Talk Day (February) and World Mental Health Day (October).
The #RunAndTalk commitment
In registering to join the programme, affiliated clubs and RunTogether groups are committing to:
- 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.
- 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.
- Support #RunAndTalk campaigns (such as 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).
- Provide crisis contacts for members of the club/group (these will be provided to your Mental Health Champions to pass on).
- Encourage and promote conversations about mental health.
- Make links with mental health organisations in the community via your Mental Health Champion(s).
- Actively promote mental wellbeing and running.
Clubs/groups may also decide to do additional activities outside of these 7 areas if they wish.
For further information contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Additional Support for England athletes
Athletes representing England, but who do not benefit from support through the World Class Programme (WCP), can also access mental health services and support following UKA’s appointment of Priory Healthcare. Non-programme athletes can access a clear self-referral signposting system to quickly access a nationwide network of mental health expertise via the Priory’s Wellbeing Centres and Hospitals. Whilst athletes are still advised to seek referral via their GP in the first instance, there is a recognition that pressures on GPs and the NHS mean that athletes may need to seek access to a private referral system both promptly and confidentially.
- Click here to visit the UKA website for details on how to access Priory Healthcare mental health support.
- Athletes in the World Class Programme can access their support through services delivered by Cognacity and BUPA – click here for details.