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Birmingham and Solihull Mental health NHS Foundation Trust
Better Together

Developing understanding of sport’s impact on mental health

Published: 18/12/2018

An invited audience of more than 150 leading experts came to Birmingham on Monday 17 December to learn more about the links between sport and improving mental health.

The 'Mental Health through Sport' one-day symposium, aimed to share practice, culture and experiences of using sport to enhance mental health and wellbeing. Held at Newman University, the event was opened by West Midlands Mayor Andy Street..

It is the first in a series of symposia, based on a partnership between Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (BSMHFT), Newman University, Sport Birmingham, and the West Midlands Combined Authority. Over the next four years, the aim is to have an increasingly international focus to these events in the lead up to the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

The symposium brought together colleagues from BSMHFT with people from sporting organisations, service users, sports clubs, charities and government to share ideas, research and experience. Just one example the audience heard about was a regular community football session run by the Trust that brings hope, companionship and exercise to many service users across Birmingham.

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street said:  “This symposium is very important in terms of bringing together the strength of academics, policy makers and practitioners to work together, learn from good practice and work with people with lived experience to make a significant difference.”

Amanda Gatherer, Chief Psychologist at BSMHFT said:

“We all know from experience that sport can sometimes provide a path towards maintaining mental wellbeing or to aid recovery. This partnership and symposium is designed to help us understand how and why sport can help people to feel better. Gaining that knowledge and insight will mean that in the future we can do more with sport to provide support to people with mental ill health in the West Midlands and beyond.”

Dr. Adam Benkwitz, Head of Sport and Health & Social Care atNewman University said:

“It was really positive to see the engagement and discussion amongst academics, sports practitioners, health service staff and people from government and charities - collaboration is vital.”

For more information, please see www.mentalhealththroughsport.com