England Athletics hopes to encourage people to #runandtalk to improve their mental wellbeing through running and to break down the stigma associated with mental health by getting people talking about it.

In support of World Mental Health Day on Tuesday 10th October the events follow the successful #runandtalk events in October 2016 and January 2017, which both saw over 100 organised runs to support mental wellbeing through running.

You are often told that physical activity is good for our bodies and our minds, but having a mental health problem can make it difficult to get started, for a number of reasons, ranging from negative body image, or a lack of self-esteem through to practical reasons such as having no one to go with, or not knowing where to get started.

During the week of 6th – 13th October 2017 England Athletics is encouraging people to run one mile or further and to have a chat with friends, family, colleagues or other runners. This can be done at a time and location of their choice or by joining one of the organised runs at an England Athletics club or RunTogether group.

The event is supported by a network of over 350 volunteer England Athletics Mental Health Ambassadors who are active in affiliated running clubs and registered running groups across England to support those of us who are experiencing mental health problems. The support available includes helping people to start running, get back into running, or continue running as well as to improve the mental wellbeing of their existing members.

The #runandtalk campaign aims to improve mental health through running in England by:

  • getting people talking about mental health, sharing their experiences and removing stigma.
  • raising awareness of mental health problems.
  • supporting 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 campaign is being supported by the mental health charity Mind. Hayley Jarvis, Community Programmes Manager (Sport) at Mind, said: “Mental health problems are more common than people think with one in four people experiencing one each year. #runandtalk is a great initiative that everyone can get involved with to support their own mental health, while meeting others in their local community.”

Helen Newberry, Inclusion Manager at England Athletics said: “We are really pleased to be supporting World Mental Health Day with #runandtalk, along with our Mental Health Ambassador Programme. We are passionate about the benefits running can bring to both physical and mental wellbeing and ensuring it is an activity that is accessible and beneficial to all. We hope that #runandtalk will help to break down some of the stigma attached to mental health and support people to access the social, physical and mental wellbeing benefits that running can bring.”

Running is one of the most accessible and low-cost ways to be active and meet government recommendations to be moderately active for at least 150 minutes per week. Whether it’s to get fit, improve health, make friends or take on a challenge running has something to offer everyone.

Sign up on Facebook here and join the conversation on social media using #runandtalk.

World Mental Health Day 2017 is on Tuesday 10th October and is an internationally recognised day with the objective of raising awareness of mental health issues around the world. Find out more here.