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Parkour UK

Mental Health Advice

Mental health context:

1 in 4 of us will experience mental health difficulties each year. People living in urban areas are twice as likely to suffer from illness such as schizophrenia, however loneliness is high in rural areas.

Early intervention and prevention have 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 back drop of staff shortages, bed shortages and frequently utilise police services when dealing with mental health calls. Due to many peoples symptoms, this can often exacerbate the situation.

Physical activity and mental health context:

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, appetite is increased, and motivation is low.

However, long term this can lead to people being at risk of physical illness 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 is also reduces the likelihood of re-occurrence and relapse.

It can:

  • Reduce feelings of depression, anxiety or tension
  • Increase self confidence
  • Increase concentration
  • increase energy
  • Manage physical health
  • Improve sleep
  • reduce risk of dementia related illness.

In addition to general physical activity, physical activity through adventure sport has shown to:

  • Develop resilience
  • Manage fear
  • Develop self identity

At Mind, we know that getting physically active iskey to supporting mental health. That’s why we’re
supporting the sports sector to make services more accessible to people with mental health problems.
As part of this work, we’ve 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.

Click here to access the toolkit. If you have any comments, queries or feedback please contact Mind.

Parkour/Freerunning 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/space – 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.

Why not try out what Parkour/Freerunning has to offer in a safe and contained manner delivered by Parkour UK qualified coaches assisted by mental health professionals (mental health, wellbeing and counselling psychology trained)? Check out the sessions and classes from our member organisations Free Your Instinct and Esprit Concrete.

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

Generally, Parkour/Freerunning has shown to help people:

  • Develop a relationship with their environment
  • Understand fear
  • Improve self efficacy
  • Improve self identity
Feedback from participants of Esprit Concrete thus far, address a regained sense of community reintegration, reduced feelings of stigma through community and societal exposure through outdoor classes and shared experiences of regaining confidence in their ability to work/interact successfully with themselves and others.

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 are 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 heap and support who 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.

Developed in partnership with our members of Free Your Instinct & Esprit Concrete