Clegg launches Mental Health Charter for Sport and Recreation

I think it’s fair to say that Nick Clegg may not exactly rock the tracksuit look, but he did do something very valuable today. In one of his last engagements as Deputy Prime Minister before the election campaign, he launched the Charter for Mental Health in Sport and Recreation aimed at kicking the mental health stigma out of sport. The video explains why:

He added:

Whether it’s Wimbledon or the World Cup, the Olympics or the Open, we are a nation truly inspired by our sportsmen and women.

But with one in four of us affected by mental illness in any year, we know that professional sportspeople are not immune.

Out of the spotlight and away from the glare of the media, some have been fighting their own personal battles against mental illness.

That’s why today is such a momentous day for the nation’s mental health.

For the very first time we’re standing together to help kick mental health discrimination out of sport, not just on the pitches but across the playgrounds, so that we can build a fairer society in which no one has to suffer in silence.

Several major sporting organisations, including the Football Association and Rugby and Cricket bodies have already signed up to the charter. Its twin aims are to make it easier for sportspeople to be open about their mental health problems and highlight that exercise can be an effective therapy for people with some types of mental ill health like Depression. In Scotland, a policy group on Wellbeing which I chaired recommended that GPs should be able to prescribe exercise for people with Depression.

The charter came after mental health charity MIND called for a network to tackle mental health in sport last year. Coincidentally, a friend of mine shared on Facebook the other day this very honest and inspiring blog by Laura Hastie, written for MIND, about how her bipolar disorder affected her running training.

Nick also did a mental health question and answer session on Twitter this morning. Here are some of the highlights.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings