Champion the Change, the campaign run by Bucks Mind and Buckinghamshire Council that aims to transform attitudes to mental health to help end stigma, is hosting a week-long awareness event from 27 June to 3 July.
The event, called Bucks Big Chat, will focus on ‘Connecting to the Community’ to reduce feelings of loneliness and social isolation surrounding low mental health and its associated stigma and discrimination.
The main activity highlights the sport and movement providers across Bucks that share an interest in mental wellbeing. Champion the Change has created a map to show where people can find local sports groups that consider the emotional wellbeing of participants.
The map shows instructors and organisations that consider participants’ emotional wellbeing, including those who have had trained in mental health awareness for sport and physical activity.
The aim is to help people feel more confident in accessing community activities, improve their mental wellbeing through physical activity, build friendships and connect them to their community through enjoyable activities.
Paul Irwin, Champion the Change Volunteer and Deputy Cabinet Member for Leisure, Culture and Sport and Councillor for Stone and Waddesdon Division, says:
“I have experienced low mental health for most of my life, and at times I do feel isolated and overwhelmed. I have always found being involved with sport, whether playing or watching, is a fantastic way to help me feel less lonely. Being part of a club like Waddesdon Cricket Club is awesome, the guys have always been there for me, and I am for them; we are family. If you have poor mental health and feel alone, find a club like Waddesdon and pop along, there is always someone to chat to and share some banter, it makes you feel like you belong and playing gets your positive mind going.”
Isobel Shea, Champion the Change Hub Coordinator says:
“We know that physical activity can benefit our wellbeing and improve mental health, but we also know that mental health stigma and discrimination can be a barrier for people to join a sports or activity club. We hope that by highlighting the sports clubs in Bucks that prioritise the wellbeing of it’s members we will encourage more people to take that first step and make contact with a local club in their community.”