The Scottish Mental Health Association aims to improve mental health through sport

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A SCOTTISH charity has launched a new initiative using the power of sport to help people manage their mental health and wellbeing.

The Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) is urging clubs and community sports organizations to help break down barriers by encouraging people to connect with others in their area through sport and physical activity.

It is part of the Scottish Mental Health Charter for Physical Activity and Sport, which has made great strides in helping people increase their confidence and reduce their isolation.

Chief executive of mental health charity SAMH, Billy Watson, said: “We are now targeting local clubs and community organizations from the borders to our islands who can help people with mental health issues access the sport and physical activity.

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“There’s a sport for everyone, whether it’s a local walking group or trying bocce or more accessible sports like pickleball or boccia. But it’s the mental benefits we hear time and time again that make the real difference.

“Sports clubs can create a warm and welcoming environment for like-minded people and can help expand social circles, which is a great driver in breaking down barriers to physical activity and sport.”

SAMH currently runs over 60 services in communities across Scotland, providing mental health social support, addictions and employment services among others.

Sports Minister Maree Todd said: “The Scottish Government is a strong supporter of the Scottish Mental Health Charter for Physical Activity and Sport and believes in the link between physical, mental and social health.

“This is an important step to ensure this work continues to grow in the future and I look forward to many more organizations across Scotland signing the Charter.”

Sportscotland was one of the first organizations to sign the Scottish Mental Health Charter for Physical Activity and Sport.

Stewart Harris, chief executive of sportscotland, said: “We know from our work in communities across the country that sport and physical activity has a very positive and sometimes life-altering effect on health and well-being. be. But it is also clear that we need to do more to encourage people to take advantage of the opportunities available to them.

“Working collaboratively, the sport system across Scotland can help break down barriers to participation, tackle stigma and make a real difference in the lives of people facing mental health issues.”

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