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Loughborough research shapes Mind’s future learnings

Research conducted by colleagues from Loughborough University has helped shape mental health charity Mind’s invaluable work in the physical activity sector.

Following a three-year review, Dr Florence Kinnafick, from the University’s School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, led an independent evaluation delivering recommendations for senior sector partners on how those in the sector can continue to flourish with Mind’s support.

The recommendations include:

  • Involving people with lived experience of mental health problems in the design, development, and delivery of projects
  • Mental health being embedded across all work and activities
  • Individuals within organisations to act as the contact point within organisations and consider including the work around mental health as part of specific job descriptions going forward e.g introducing mental health champions and/or leads
  • Promoting examples of good practice through knowledge exchange

The evaluation, which forms part of Mind’s ‘Moving Towards Better Mental Health’ report, also highlights the advances that have been made around the culture of mental health and the on-going progress made on tackling stigma.

The report also presented recommendations for Mind on how it can build on its progress to date to create an environment where everyone feels comfortable and confident to be physically active. It showcases where people working and volunteering in the sector can thrive.

These include:

  • The importance of facilitating cross-sector collaborations
  • The importance of knowledge exchange and working with strategic partners to create quality assurances or competence measures in the sector
  • The benefits of working with partners to promote, develop and implement health initiatives, training, CPD opportunities and networking events

Dr Kinnafick presented the findings to delegates at the recent Mental Health in Sport and Physical Activity Conference at the Kia Oval cricket ground in London.

“It has been a pleasure to work with Mind on their important work in the Sport and Physical Activity Sector,” she explained.

“There have been clear advancements in the support of mental health within sport and physical activity. We hope our recommendations, along with the policy brief due to be published at the end of November, will help to build on this momentum to improve care and support for mental health in the sector.”

Dr Kinnafick has also been appointed as the co-author for a forthcoming policy brief with Mind and The Sport for Development Coalition.

Titled ‘Moving for Mental Health following COVID-19: The Role of Physical Activity, Sport and Sport for Development in Promoting Movement and Mental Health’, the first findings will be published in late November 2021.