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Friday, 25 September 2015

Sir Chris Hoy launches new sports based mental health initiative

Written by The Press Association

Sir Chris Hoy let his arms rather than his legs do the work as he started a climb to launch a mental health initiative.

Britain's most successful Olympian was at Edinburgh's International Climbing Arena to support the charity SAMH's Give Mental Health a Sporting Chance programme.

The project aims to champion the use of physical activity and sport as a way of improving and maintaining good mental health and wellbeing.

Over the next year the charity aims to gather the views of 1,000 people who have experienced mental health problems in order to develop a Mental Health Charter for Sport.

It is hoped sports governing bodies and community organisations will then sign up to support the charter.

Champion cyclist Sir Chris said: "Research tells us that being physically active can help improve our mental health and wellbeing - yet for some people it can feel like a wall that is too high to scale on their own.

"I'd encourage people across Scotland to get involved, support this work and take part in SAMH's programme.

"You can do it today by filling in a survey to help identify how this programme can help inform some of the barriers to being active or be in touch with SAMH to see what might already be happening in your area."

SAMH chief executive Billy Watson said: "Scotland has enjoyed an exciting period of hosting great sporting events including the Commonwealth Games in 2014.

"The time is right for sport to use its collective power to tackle the stigma and discrimination around mental ill health.

"That's why SAMH, in addition to asking for the views of people experiencing poor mental health, will be working to develop training tools over the next two years to enable even more sports governing bodies, leisure trusts and community sports organisations to run programmes that help promote greater participation."

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