The Mental Health Charter for Sport and Recreation

Every year, one-in-four of us will experience a mental health problem. Yet it is still something the majority of us are loath to talk about or address. This is something that has to change.

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We want to use the power of the sport and recreation sector to make our activities welcoming, positive and inclusive for everyone. That's why the Sport and Recreation Alliance alongside the Professional Players Federation and with support from the mental health charity Mind, have created the Mental Health Charter for Sport and Recreation.

The Mental Health Charter for Sport and Recreation sets out how sport can use its collective power to tackle mental ill health and the stigma that surrounds it.

Alongside a number of player associations and NGBs who have already signed-up, we are asking for other sporting organisations to commit to take positive steps to address and encourage people to be open about mental health issues.

The Charter outlines five actions that we, as a sector, can take to help make mental health a commonly understood matter and to help those in need.

We will:

• Use the power of sport and recreation to promote wellbeing, with a special focus on encouraging physical activity and social interaction for their contribution to good mental health.

• Publicly promote and adopt good mental health policies and best practice within our sports and recreational activities.

• Promote positive public health messages using diverse role models and ambassadors to reduce the stigma attached to mental health problems.

• Actively tackle discrimination on the grounds of mental health to ensure that everyone is treated with dignity and respect.

• Support the establishment of a pan-sport platform to work closely with the mental health sector to develop and share networks, resources and best practice.

• Regularly monitor our performance, assess progress and take positive action on mental health issues.

Download your copy of the Mental Health Charter for Sport and Recreation

Download templates and resources to help implement the Charter in the Helpful Resources tabs below.

Find out which organisations have already signed the Charter.

In October 2015 we hosted an event at Wembley Stadium called Sport Minds. Find out what happened at this event here.

The Charter has received some great support from professional sports people, find out who here.

If you would like to talk specifically about mental health, you can find more information and talk to a specialist at Mind

Signing up to the Mental Health Charter for Sport and Recreation is the start of a journey. It’s a commitment to take positive action around mental health. Here are some helpful resources to help you along the way.

How to talk about the Charter

Here is a key messages document to help you talk about the Mental Health Charter within your organisations as well as externally.

Language and terminology

To help you know how to speak about mental health here is a language and terminology factsheet.


Physical activity can have a positive impact on physical and mental health. We've created an evidence pack that signposts to existing research that demonstrates how sport and recreation can help support and benefit people who are experiencing mental health problems. Download the evidence summary document

The pack has been produced for practitioners and professionals who are looking for evidence to make the case for physical activity and mental health.

Please note that we are not responsible for checking the validity of the research so if you plan to use it do check that it is appropriate for what you need.

Mind has committed to supporting Charter signatories to develop their action plans. Please send completed plans to and an expert at Mind will offer feedback.


Mind has lots of useful information and resources around mental health.

Find out about the most commonly discussed mental health problems, including possible causes and how to access treatment and support. Includes tips for helping yourself, and guidance for friends and family.

Click on the links to find out more about:
Types of mental health problems
Tips for everyday living - staying mentally well
Taking care of mental health in the workplace
Guidance on terminology and imagery

You can read more specifically about sport and mental health here.

Training and support available from Mind

Mind has free webinars and resources that show you simple, inexpensive and practical ways to improve mental wellbeing and employee engagement.
Mind also offers a range of training packages, courses are available in-house or through open access courses.

Through Mind’s Sport England and National Lottery funded Get Set to Go programme - further courses and resources specifically aimed at sports coaches and sports professionals will be developed – watch this space!

Local support from Mind

Local Minds support over 400,000 people across England and Wales. Their services include supported housing, crisis helplines, drop-in centres, employment and training schemes, counselling and befriending.

Each local Mind is an independent charity run by local people, for local people. Each is responsible for its own funding and the services it provides, but all are affiliated to Mind.

Other places to find useful information

Time to Change
Time to Change is an anti-stigma campaign led by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness. You can find out more and access Time to Talk resources here.

State of Mind
The State of Mind programme was set up in 2011 to improve the mental health, wellbeing and working life of rugby league players and communities. You can find out more here.

Sport in Mind
Sport in Mind ® is an independent Berkshire mental health charity founded in 2011 to provide people experiencing mental health problems with the opportunity to play sport and physical activity in a supported environment. You can find out more here.

Mental Health First Aid
Mental Health First Aid is an educational course which teaches people how to identify, understand and help a person who may be developing a mental health issue. In the same way as we learn physical first aid, Mental Health First Aid teaches you how to recognise those crucial warning signs of mental ill health more information is available here.

Join In
Join In is a charity that connects local people with sports clubs that need their help. Join In’s commitment to the Mental Health Charter for Sport and Recreation is to help others better meet their own pledges by sharing our research and expertise in sports volunteering. You can find out more about how Join In can help you here.

Join the debate

We’re asking signatories to develop action plans to set out their commitments around mental health.

Template action plans

We’ve produced template action plans to help you get started. Some ideas for action are suggested but these are just examples of what can be done. Some are small steps and others much bigger. Some are looking internally within your organisation and others are more around what you deliver externally.

Take a look at the most appropriate type of plan for your organisation:

We want to help you develop your action plan but due to resources we can only help national governing bodies or players associations. Please send completed plans to and an expert at Mind will offer feedback.

However, if you are a club, project or education setting and have done an action plan please still let us know so that we can show that you have in the list of signatories.

Examples of action plans

Some signatories have shared their experiences of developing action plans through blogs:

Access Sport

British Tennis

World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association

Signatories have also agreed to share their action plans to help others develop their own. Please take a look and we hope you are inspired to take your own action:

British Orienteering

Child Protection in Sport Unit

Derbyshire Sport

Edinburgh University Sports Union

English Karate Council

Karate Union Great Britain

My Players

Professional Cricketers Association

Professional Players Federation

Sport and Recreation Alliance

Table Tennis England

World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association