Latest News > How Does Sport Help Mental Health?
The 12th-18th June is Men’s Mental Health Awareness Week, and we want to recognise and bring attention to such an important cause. The theme for 2023 is anxiety, something which so many men face every day and sport has always been a positive outlet for those struggling with their mental health. Staying active, particularly playing sports, has been proven to be beneficial to a person’s mental health as much as their physical.
We caught up with the local Huddersfield rugby team, the Newsome Panthers, on what recognising Men Mental Health Awareness Week means to them and how sport and exercise has played a role in managing their own mental health.
Huge thanks to Cammy (Prop Forward), Matteo (Centre), Jamie (Centre), Danny (Second Row), Luke (Loose Forward) and Rob (Half-Back) for taking the time to talk with us and answer our questions.
What does mental health awareness mean to you?
Mental health awareness means recognizing the importance of our psychological well-being and understanding that mental health is just as significant as physical health. It involves promoting understanding, empathy, and support for those facing mental health challenges.
How do you guys unwind after a hectic week?
After a hectic week, it’s important to spend quality time with loved ones. Whether it's going out for a meal, watching a movie together, or simply having a meaningful conversation, connecting with family and friends is a great way to relax and recharge.
Do you think there's a stigma around men's mental health on and off the pitch?
Yes, unfortunately, there is still a stigma around men's mental health both on and off the pitch. Society often expects men to be strong, resilient, and not show vulnerability. This can discourage men from seeking help or expressing their emotions, leading to further challenges with their mental well-being.
What role has sport and physical activity played in improving your mental health?
Sports has played a crucial role in benefitting our mental health. Engaging in physical activities like playing rugby league, going for long walks, or hitting the gym acts as a stress reliever as much as keeping us fit. Moreover, being part of a team and the camaraderie associated with sports has allowed us to socialise, make new friends, and build a support network.
What is your source for release from stress/burn out?
Spending time outdoors and with nature is a great way to unwind and find solace. Going for hikes or simply taking a walk in the local area helps disconnect from daily pressures and reconnect with the tranquillity of the natural world.
How do you keep both body and mind in top shape?
A balanced lifestyle is key. This includes a regular exercise routine to stay physically fit, eating a nutritious diet, getting sufficient sleep, and practicing mindfulness and meditation techniques to keep the mind focused and calm.
What are your top three tips for keeping a healthy mind?
- Prioritise Self-care: Make time for activities that bring you joy and relaxation, whether it's pursuing hobbies, reading, or taking baths. Taking care of yourself is essential for maintaining a positive mental well-being.
- Foster social connections and surround yourself with positive and supportive people. Regularly connecting with friends and loved ones can provide emotional support and strengthen your mental resilience.
- Practice stress management and incorporate stress management techniques into your daily routine, such as mindfulness exercises, deep breathing, or engaging in physical activities. Finding healthy ways to manage stress is crucial for a healthy mind.
Are you listening to any podcasts/reading any books on mental health?
Yes, the ‘Man Up’ podcast is brilliant and focuses on various aspects of psychological well-being, including coping mechanisms, mindfulness practices, and personal stories of resilience.
Tell us about the last thing that made you smile...
Winning our rugby match on the weekend. We love being on the field and seeing the team come together and putting in a great performance by winning 66-0.
We just want to say a huge thank you again to Newsome Panthers for working with us on this great project for an even better cause! If you find yourself struggling with your mental health, don't forget to reach out to a mental health professional at your local GP, visit the Men's Health Forum or look on Mind UK for advice and information.
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