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NCSEM and FSEM seminar: Physical activity and serious mental health

Date and Time
22nd April 2021, 18:00 - 19:30
The event has passed


Speakers’ talks are available to view at the following times:
Professor Simon Gilbody – Physical activity, mental health and health inequalities (view at 4 mins 30 secs)
Dr Florence Kinnafick – Physical activity in secure mental health settings (view at 33 mins 40 secs)
Ellie Wildbore – Personal experience of physical activity and mental health (view at 1hr 2 mins 48 secs)

For a further video telling Ellie’s story and some blogs and resources to support physical activity and mental health please visit

This seminar was part of a series of four seminars jointly hosted by the three NCSEM hubs and the Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine (FSEM).

It examined drivers of health inequalities for people with serious mental illness, and explore physical activity interventions in secure settings. There was also the opportunity to hear lived experience of how physical activity can transform mental health.

The online session featured three speakers each bringing a unique insight to physical activity and mental health, full details of the programme are below.


Mark Lewis is Professor of Musculoskeletal Biology and Dean of the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences at Loughborough University. He has held leadership positions in academic institutions across the HE sector, whilst remaining a fully research-active academic, investigating bioengineering of functional tissue engineered musculoskeletal constructs. Prof. Lewis holds leadership positions as management board member (and PI) of the NIHR Leicester Biomedical Research Centre, Co-I for ARUK funded Centre of Excellence in Sport Injuries & Osteoarthritis, project leader and director for the NCSEM, NRC Programme Board, Research & Innovation Lead, and is the current president of the Tissue & Cell Engineering Society.


Physical activity, mental health and health inequalities
This session will focus on physical activity for serious mental health. Professor Gilbody will discuss the drivers of health and health inequalities for people with serious mental illness. We will place the role of physical activity in this broader context.
Professor Simon Gilbody is Founder & Director of the Mental Health & Addictions Research Group (MHARG) at the University of York. He also teaches medical students in the Hull York Medical School (HYMS), where he is a member of the Centre for Health and Population Sciences. Simon is a leading health services researcher & population scientist. His research draws upon his clinical background; having studied Psychology before completing training in Medicine, Psychiatry and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. Simon was awarded a personal chair (Professorship) in Psychological Medicine by the University of York in 2008. Taking a population approach to mental health, Simon conducts epidemiological studies, evidence syntheses and clinical trials to promote effective, efficient and equitable NHS mental health services. Simon researches in primary care, and at the interface between mental and physical health.
Physical activity in secure mental health settings
Dr Kinnafick will discuss on-going research that provides an overview of the process and challenges of developing of a physical activity intervention in a secure psychiatric setting.
Dr Florence Kinnafick is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Loughborough University. She is a Chartered Psychologist (CPsychol) of the British Psychological Society and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Florence’s research employs both quantitative and qualitative methodologies to explore the social contextual and environmental determinants of physical activity behaviour change (long-term persistence, drop out and lapses). More specifically she has investigated who and what is perceived as a source of support for behaviour change. This has included facilitating increased quality of motivation using mobile technology and also investigating the effect of exercise intensity and the physical environment on psychological well-being. She has worked with various population groups including school aged youth, employees and mental health service users.
Personal experience of physical activity and mental health
Ellie has lived experience in mental health. She will talk about how developing a love of roller skating has transformed her mental health, helped develop social networks and had benefits for her physical health.
Ellie Wildbore works between the Medical Education and Research teams using her lived experience in mental health to aid her role as Patient Research Ambassador. She is a qualified primary school teacher but has also worked and volunteered in mental health organisations in support roles, as an occupational therapy assistant and in teaching and training. She currently teaches on the clinical psychology course at the University of Hull, works for the Royal College of Psychiatrists as a peer reviewer for therapeutic communities and is involved with training staff both within Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust and further afield – such as police, railway staff and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals staff. She also runs workshops and speaks at conferences about her experiences.

Other seminars in this series:


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