Britain's Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has backed a new mental charter launched here today by The Sport and Recreation Alliance and the Professional Players Federation.
Clegg helped unveil the The Mental Health Charter for Sport and Recreation, supported by the mental health charity Mind, which details how sport can collectively come together to tackle the stigma surrounding mental ill-health.
One of the key aims of the Charter is to create an environment in which mental health issues are more widely discussed, including sporting professionals, volunteers and spectators.
The aim comes following research by the Sport and Recreation Alliance which found one in four people experience a mental health problem every year throughout Britain.
But people are unlikely to discuss their issue, they found, with 90 per cent claiming they have experienced discrimination as a consequence of their mental health issue.
To combat with the issue the Charter outlines a commitment by organisations to publicly promoting positive mental health messages through role models, to tackle discrimination and the stigma surrounding mental health, while encouraging active participation in sport as a way of achieving good mental health.
"This is one of those areas where sport and physical activity really can change lives but there's not enough awareness of it as a treatment or as a way of preventing people from falling into poor mental health in the first place," said Emma Boggis, chief executive of the Sport and Recreation Alliance.
"Too much of the association between sport and mental health is negative – like when a top athlete suffers problems.
"We want to re-frame that relationship so that people understand that sport is a positive place for conversations about mental health."
Additionally the organisations have committed to working with the mental health sector, including charities like Mind, to share ideas regarding best practice, while a working group will be set up to monitor the progress made as a result of the charter.
Around 40 of Britain's leading sporting organisations have already signed up to charter including The Football Association, The Lawn Tennis Association, the Rugby Football Union and the England and Wales Cricket Board.
The Charter's most high-profile supporter is Clarke Carlisle, a former Premier League footballer with Burnley, who is recovering after a recent suicide attempt.
The Mental Health Charter for Sports and Recreation can be viewed here
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