Suffolk Mind and Active Suffolk join forces to increase participation in physical activity to improve mental health

by Suffolk Mind Team | 20 Dec 2021

Active Suffolk and Suffolk Mind have formalised their partnership in a joint effort to improve mental health through physical activity in Suffolk over the next year.

The latest figures released in a report from Suffolk Mind, indicates that the mental health of people in Suffolk has worsened since the Covid-19 pandemic, detailing that more than half of us are still not, on average, meeting our emotional needs, which means we are experiencing stress and more at risk of mental ill health.

The most recent Active Lives data release from Sport England, also indicates that the pandemic has resulted in a decline in the number of adults across Suffolk participating in regular physical activity, in line with the trends across the country.

Given the link between increased participation in physical activity and movement, and the positive impact this has on mental health and wellbeing, Active Suffolk and Suffolk Mind will be committed to working together in the hope of improving these local statistics.

Both organisations have agreed to collaborate and have signed an agreement, which will see them working at a strategic and operational level; sharing education, raising awareness, exchanging insight and research and seeking future opportunities which will make a real difference to the lives of those people living in Suffolk.

Gareth Davies, Director of Active Suffolk said:

“With the unequivocal link between physical health and mental health, Active Suffolk are delighted to sign this MoU with Suffolk Mind, further strengthening our existing relationship.

“The MoU formalises the natural synergies that exist between our organisations and allows us to mutually support each other’s goals of improving the physical and mental health and Active Suffolk are committed to continue to work alongside Suffolk Mind to support our communities both now and in the future.

“The pandemic continues to have a significant impact across the county, reducing physical activity levels and worsening our mental health and, as we are once again asked to work from home, now is a timely reminder of the importance of building any kind of physical activity in our daily routines to maintain our mental health”.

Jon Neal, Chief Executive of Suffolk Mind said:

“We’re delighted to be working with Active Suffolk, encouraging and enabling people of all ages to take better care of their mental health through movement and physical activity.

“Since Covid-19 and lockdown, rates of depression have doubled, and in Suffolk more than half of us are currently experiencing stress or low level mental ill health. We’ve also been exercising and moving less. These two facts are related and the answer to improving both is intrinsically linked.

“Through this MoU we hope, together, to grow the amount and effectiveness of support available to people in Suffolk.”

Active Suffolk and Suffolk Mind have worked together in the past to promote the 100 miles for Suffolk Mind campaign, where 14 This Girl Can Ambassadors signed up to take on the challenge.

This Girl Can Ambassador, Michelle challenged herself to complete 100 miles for Suffolk Mind in lockdown, after seeing her step count reducing from around 10,000 a day to 2,000. It also helped her through the difficult passing of her dad.

Michelle said: “Little did I know that when I started the challenge, it would actually become a saviour of mine during what has been, without a doubt, the most difficult time of my life!

“My dad lived in Barbados so in my 26th week of pregnancy, I flew there to organise and attend his funeral with my brother. We were required to quarantine in a hotel room on arrival until we received a negative Covid test result. I am not ashamed to admit that I struggled during that time, and I was even concerned about my own mental health in the final few days of being in quarantine.

“With nothing much to do except watch our tablets/phones, my brother and I decided walk up and down our balcony with the aim of hitting our daily step goals. I can honestly say that having that goal each day helped to pass the hours and gave me a real focus! During my time in quarantine, I am proud to say that I managed to walk 64,000 steps, approximately 27.2 miles.”

To sign up to take on 100 Miles for Suffolk Mind, click here.

by Suffolk Mind Team
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