Manchester kids get mental health boost through new sports programmes as half fall short of recommended exercise

Sport In Mind, a charity, have launched programmes in Greater Manchester to get kids more active

Children living with poor mental health can now improve their lives through sports customized to their needs in Greater Manchester and across the UK.

In support of Children’s Mental Health Week, taking place from February 5 to February 11, mental health sports charity Sport in Mind is launching Youth Programmes to empower children and young people to find their voice, understand their feelings and make a vital connection between sport and positive mental health.

The programmes aim to combat inactivity in children and rising mental health issues. Alarming figures from Public Health England show that less than 50% of children and young people aged 5 to 16 years are reaching the government recommended 60 minutes of exercise per day and rates of probable mental disorders in the same age group stand at 1 in 6 children. 

Quays news spoke to one of the children’s mums.

“My son absolutely loves his time with Sport in Mind,” she said. “He can easily engage with the nature of play and be involved in the decision-making. 

“Sometimes sports in school rely on the elite to drive the games, but here the kids are all included, and the competition is healthy. It’s about having fun, which for him is a sweaty face, a huge smile. Its a perfect end to his week.”

The Active Lives Children and Young People survey conducted by Sport England proves that active children are happier, more resilient and more trusting of others. There was also a positive association between being active and higher levels of mental well-being. 

According to Manchester-based Access Sport, accessible community sport is more important than ever, yet whilst the city is awash with elite sport there remains a critical lack of accessible and inclusive community sport opportunities.

A spokesperson for the Sports in Mind charity added: “Sport in Mind workshops are designed to help young people understand what good mental health looks like and the links between physical activity and positive mental health. 

“In this time, the session leaders engage the children in fun games and activities focusing on wellbeing using four key themes; Heart rate, Breathing, Focus and Communication. They deliver age appropriate tools to empower them to make healthy, sustainable choices in their own lives.”

As per Government guidelines, children and young people should get 30 minutes of their daily physical activity in the school day and 30 minutes outside of school.

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