1 in 4 of us will experience mental health difficulties each year. People living in urban areas are twice as likely to suffer from illnesses such as schizophrenia, however, loneliness is high in rural areas.
Early intervention and prevention have been shown to greatly improve chances of recovery, however, whilst the importance of parity of esteem between mental and physical health services is recognised, the NHS struggles to offer these services on a backdrop of staff shortages, bed shortages, and frequently utilise police services when dealing with mental health calls. Due to many people’s symptoms, this can often exacerbate the situation.
At Parkour UK, we know that getting physically active is key to supporting mental health.
That’s why the mental health charity “Mind” is supporting the sports sector to make services more accessible to people with mental health problems.
The UK mental health charity “Mind” has developed a toolkit specifically for sports and physical activity organisations.
The toolkit shares learning and best practice from mental health organisations (including us), and uses real examples and tested resources. It covers:
- Understanding mental health.
- How incorporating mental health outcomes will benefit your organisation.
- Key stakeholders in the mental health sector.
- Mental health sector terminology.
- Mental health problems and the law.
Physical Activity & Mental Health
Due to many of the symptoms of mental illness as well as medications used to help manage them, health and fitness activities can often be challenging – people feel generally tired, their appetite is increased, and motivation is low.
Long term this can lead to people being at risk of physical illnesses such as diabetes, stroke, heart disease, etc, all of which can be managed through physical activity.
Research indicates that physical activity is effective in managing mental illness, without the side effects associated with pharmaceutical medication. It also reduces the likelihood of re-occurrence and relapse.
- Reduce feelings of depression, anxiety or tension
- Increase self confidence
- Increase concentration
- increase energy
- Manage physical health
- Improve sleep
- Reduce the risk of dementia-related illness.
Parkour for Mental Health
As a sport, Parkour/Freerunning allows people to practice within their own environment. Unlike many sports where you may have to go to a set place and/or set environment to practice. You can literally do Parkour/Freerunning in most places/spaces – please read our IAG on Training Outdoors.
You don’t need expensive equipment, you don’t need money to travel. Just you and a pair of trainers.
Generally, Parkour/Freerunning has been shown to help people:
- Develop a relationship with their environment
- Understand fear
- Improve self-efficacy
- Improve self-identity
Mental Health in the Parkour Community
Their sessions are delivered in a safe and contained manner, and are assisted by mental health professionals.
Results from our member organisation, Free Your Instinct‘s courses have shown that Parkour/Freerunning has;
- Increased responses of feeling happy, healthy, and more motivated
- Decreased responses of feeling tense, anxious and irritable
- Manage negative thoughts and voices
If you are in need of immediate help, unfortunately, we do not have the support facilities in place to assist.
If you are feeling suicidal or need to talk to someone immediately:
- The Samaritans is a confidential emotional support service for anyone in the UK or Ireland. The service is available 24 hours a day for people who are experiencing feelings of distress or despair. Please Call: 08457 90 90 90
- NHS 111 is a non-emergency line providing medical help and support that can advise you of services available. Please call: 111
If you have or are about to take an overdose or seriously harm yourself
Call 999 immediately, calls are free and you can ask to stay on the line whilst you wait for help to arrive. Alternatively, you can go to your nearest accident and emergency service.