What study has been carried out around physical activity and mental wellebeing?

Tyneside and Northumberland Mind have recently released the results of their two year ‘Get Set to Go’ study which show that people with mental health problems who are more regularly active have better mental wellbeing.

The Get Set to Go programme, the largest of its kind anywhere in the world, was launched with support of Sport England and the National Lottery in July 2015 to help people with mental health problems benefit from being physically active. The programme has since supported 3,585 people with mental health problems get more active. After 6 months of taking part in Get Set to Go, 78% of people rated it as very good or excellent.

What have been the results of the Get Set to Go programme?

Participants in Get Set to Go increased their activity levels by an average of 1.3 days each week, and felt like they had more support available to them after taking part in the programme. They also felt it had improved their resilience and ability to cope. The research, which was independently evaluated by experts from Loughborough University, worked with 1,000 participants to track their progress.

Participants took part in specially designed physical activity projects. Delivered in communities across England by eight local Minds, participants received group and one-to-one support from peers with an understanding of how mental health can be a barrier to physical activity. Participants took part in a range of activities including gym, football, badminton, boxing, walking, Boccia and even ultimate Frisbee. Participants also got support through Mind’s safe and supportive online social network Elefriends, by swapping tips, advice and linking up with others who were just starting out.

Nationally, Get Set to Go campaigned to promote the benefits of getting active on mental health, reaching over 19 million people with specially developed information. Thousands more accessed information and support to help them get active online through Mind’s Elefriends website.

What next?

Mind is calling on organisations working in sports and physical activity to take on the learnings from Get Set to Go and embed the programme’s recommendations in their work to support participants with mental health problems.
All recommendations can be found here.

Tyneside and Northumberland Mind are committed to building on the learning from Get Set to Go to help more people with mental health problems benefit from being physically active. The evaluation report contains recommendations (towards the end) for any organisation wanting to support this cause and we are also in the process of trying to find sustainability funding to continue our great work.

You can continue to contact Tyneside and Northumberland Mind regarding mentoring advice or to book onto Mental Health and Physical Activity training course at andrew.cowan@tynesidemind.org.uk. 

There has also been a short film created starring some of the participants, volunteers and Sports Coordinator of the programe which was screened at the celebration event in the Olympic Park, London. You can now find this on YouTube here.