There's never been a better time to run and talk
England Athletics' ambitious plans to expand national mental wellness initiative
England Athletics' Run and Talk programme, supported by the mental health charity MIND, aims to expand to more than 1,500 EA affiliated clubs and 2,840 RunTogether groups with the latest application window open until the end of January.
With all the restrictions and privations necessary to manage the COVID-19 pandemic there has never been a more important time to address mental wellbeing and to emphasise the positive role that running can play in reducing our stress levels and improving our mental health.
Elite athletes have long recognised the need for support with mental wellness and a comprehensive nationwide network of services exists at that level to facilitate fast track referral to mental health expertise when it is needed.
However, for the majority of runners and club athletes, there has been a paucity of recognition, information and support in this vital area – until now, that is. #RunAndTalk is so simple, so obvious, it is surprising it has taken so long to gain traction.
By applying to participate in the #RunAndTalk programme – by 31 January for the current phase – clubs and groups commit to the initiative by appointing a mental health champion whose role is to support people to access the mental wellbeing benefits of running, remove the stigma and get people talking about mental health.
Mental health champions ensure that clubs, groups, and individuals follow a seven-point #RunAndTalk commitment to actively and equally promote mental wellbeing and running.
EA has produced a video that explains the principles and some of the benefits to individuals.
Full details are at England Athletics here
Image: England Athletics #RunAnd Talk on Twitter