jogscotland has marked today, World Mental Health Day, by announcing their latest mental health initiative – the jogscotland wellbeing champions.
Their two wellbeing champions, Jenni Rees-Jenkins and Ted McPake, are jogscotland members and jog leaders with lived experience of mental health issues. They have both pledged to take a lead in speaking out about their own experiences of mental health, particularly the ways in which exercise has helped them. The two volunteers have received additional training and support from jogscotland’s partners, SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health) to enable them to better understand and support others when talking about mental health.
It’s well known that being active can be a huge boost to mental wellbeing, but often mental health issues are in themselves a barrier to getting active. Jogscotland’s new wellbeing champions will be available to work with groups in their areas to help them identify possible barriers to participation, and to make jogscotland as accessible as possible. They will promote the message that being active benefits mental health.
Both wellbeing champions have also committed to continuing their own learning and training on issues around mental wellbeing. While they are not trained counsellors, they can provide a listening ear and share their own experiences, and signpost people in need of support to the correct source of help.
Jenni, who is a jog leader with Jogscotland Kintore, was the first winner of the SAMH Mental Wellbeing Award at last year's jogscotland awards, having been very open about how exercise has helped her cope with depression.
She says: "We’ve been doing training into working with others who have mental health issues. SAMH has some excellent online courses and face-to-face training sessions that teach you all about the different aspects of mental health. We embarked on a training day to give insight into the counselling service and to brush up our own coaching and mentoring skills. From here we can work more confidently with those who need our help. We can ‘see’ them, and provide an ear to just listen and then maybe give advice pulled from our own lives mixed with insight from SAMH."
Ted, who is a jog leader with jogscotland Airdrie, says: "Mental health and wellbeing is very important to me because of my own experiences and hurdles. I want to get the message out that mental health is just as important as physical health and that it shouldn't be a taboo subject. The more it’s talked about and the more general awareness there is, the less likely people are to feel shame in asking for help.
"It’s important to recognise that there is no 'one size fits all' solution for mental health issues and wellbeing. I hope that by using my own experiences, along with training from SAMH, I can help others."
Image courtesy jogscotland