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Birmingham and Solihull Mental health NHS Foundation Trust
Better Together

BSMHFT’s experts share benefits of sport in mental health recovery

Published: 28/07/2022


Mental health specialists from Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Trust were part of an expert panel this week invited to talked about the benefits of sport in mental health recovery.

Dr Anis Ahmed, Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist at BSMHFT’s secure unit Tamarind, Clinical Nurse Manager  Hazel Ndoro and Community Development Manager Beresford Dawkins and Experts by Experience Matthew Brayshaw and Jay Reynalds were part of the panel at the B2022 Mental Health Summit as well as BSMHFT’s Chair Danielle Oum who was a keynote speaker.

During the event - organised by the B2022 Community Engagement Team - the experts answered questions about a pioneering initiative that saw Commonwealth Games sports played at the Trust’s Reaside, Ardenleigh and Tamarind secure mental health units recently. Believed to be the first time a secure psychiatric facility has been involved in a scheme like this, around 270 service users and staff came together to play sport.

From wheelchair basketball, table tennis to penalty shoot outs the events across the three units were led by the B2022 Community Engagement team and local project Dear Youngers. An idea initially by Dr Ahmed, the aim of the scheme was to challenge negative perceptions of mental illness and demonstrate how sport can be a key part of mental health recovery.

Speaking about this project, Dr Anis Ahmed who has been a Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist at BSMHFT for over a decade, said:

“It was an honour to be part of these vital discussions at the B2022 mental health summit. Patients under the Mental Health Act are often overlooked when it comes to community events, so we were delighted that we able to showcase the benefits of bringing sport into three of our high secure mental health units.

“There is still so much stigma surrounding this group of people, who are admitted to us for intense mental health treatment. While we routinely offer physical activity as part of individual treatment, what we saw through this scheme was way more than that. It was about active participation, a real sense of teamwork, confidence and improved relationships across each of our units.

“Everyone taking part had the chance to feel the buzz of the Commonwealth Games and we are very grateful to B2022 and Dear Youngers for working with us on this. We welcome more sporting participation projects like this in the future, because we have seen for ourselves just how far-reaching these types of sporting events can be in mental health recovery.”

Highlights of this special project were captured in a short video which was played for the first time at the mental health summit on Monday 25 July.

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