Lister psychiatrist sets up sports sessions to tackle mental health

PUBLISHED: 14:06 31 December 2018 | UPDATED: 15:18 31 December 2018

Sport sessions to help people who struggle with their mental health will be taking place in Stevenage, Hitchin, Letchworth and Welwyn Garden City throughout January. Picture: Pexels

Sport sessions to help people who struggle with their mental health will be taking place in Stevenage, Hitchin, Letchworth and Welwyn Garden City throughout January. Picture: Pexels

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A Lister Hospital psychiatrist has teamed up with charity Mind to put on sports session throughout January for people with mental health problems.

Lister-based pyschiatrist Jemma Reid has teamed up with charity Mind to put on sports session throughout January for people with mental health problems. Picture: Mark HughesLister-based pyschiatrist Jemma Reid has teamed up with charity Mind to put on sports session throughout January for people with mental health problems. Picture: Mark Hughes

Jemma Reid has decided to run sessions in Stevenage, Hitchin, Letchworth and Welwyn Garden City to help those who struggle with their mental health

“There is strong evidence to demonstrate that physical activity can play a pivotal role in the prevention and recovery from mental illness,” she said.

“Mental illness affects one in four of us and can occur in anyone, regardless of background or circumstance.

“It is important that everyone has opportunities to take part in sport and exercise, and I have been working with local clubs and sports providers to look at ways in which we can improve access for people who have suffered from mental health problems.”

The sessions are inspired by Mind’s nationwide RED January initiative, designed to encourage people to take part in activities to improve their mental health.

Jemma put us in touch with someone who has experienced the positive impact sport can have. They said: “I have been suffering with PTSD for over a year now due to a traumatic incident I had.

“This resulted in me being signed off work for a significant period, and I am still receiving treatment for PTSD as well as anxiety and depression.

“I recently started playing tennis again after a break of more than 20 years to try and increase my confidence, as I had been told exercise helps with depression and other mental health conditions.

“I can honestly say joining a club and playing regular sport again has helped me immensely. Without it I really would have struggled.”

Jemma is hoping that her sessions – put on with the help of Mind in Mid Herts – will have a real impact on some people’s lives.

“There are many reasons why someone might find it daunting to participate in organised sport or exercise, especially if they have not done so for many years,” she said.

“Fears of not being fit, skilled or confident enough or simply not knowing where to access opportunities are common.

“The aim is to be able to try a new sport or exercise in a supportive and encouraging environment and perhaps develop a new hobby.”

To register for any of the free sessions (see below) or for more information email jemma.reid1@nhs.net.

The following sessions will be on offer in January:

• Tuesday 1 - Running group (hosted by Stevenage Striders) in Hampson Park, Stevenage, for those who can run approximately 4km

• Wednesday 2 - Health walk in Stevenage.

• Thursday 3 - Running group (hosted by Stevenage Striders) in Hampson Park, Stevenage, for those who can run approximately 4km.

• Friday 4 – Gym taster session at Stevenage Leisure Centre.

• Monday 7 - Karate run by ATSK Karate in Letchworth.

• Tuesday 8 - Running group (hosted by Stevenage Striders) in Hampson Park, Stevenage, for those who can run approximately 4km.

• Tuesday 8 - Touch rugby (complete beginners welcome) at Welwyn Rugby Club.

• Wednesday 9 - Health walk in Stevenage.

Karate run by ATSK Karate in Stevenage.

• Thursday 10 - Running group (hosted by Stevenage Striders) in Hampson Park, Stevenage, for those who can run approximately 4km.

Karate run by ATSK Karate in Hitchin

• Friday 11 - Gym taster session at Stevenage Leisure Centre.

• Tuesday 15 - Running group (hosted by Stevenage Striders) in Hampson Park, Stevenage. Session is suitable for individuals with little or no running experience and no existing fitness level required.

Running group (Garden City Runners - based in Welwyn Garden City) - this session is suitable for individuals with little or no running experience and no existing fitness level required.

Touch rugby (complete beginners welcome - male and female) at Welwyn Rugby Club.

• Wednesday 16 - Health walk in Stevenage.

• Thursday 17 - Running group (hosted by Stevenage Striders) in Hampson Park, Stevenage, for those who can run approximately 4km.

• Friday 18 - Gym taster session at Stevenage Leisure Centre.

• Saturday 19 - Tennis (beginners welcome) at Orchard Lawn Tennis Club, Welwyn Garden City.

• Tuesday 22 - Running group run and chat session (hosted by Stevenage Striders), aimed at beginners with little or no running experience in Fairlands, Stevenage.

Open Day at Stevenage Leisure Centre - tasters sessions inclue pilates, swimming, Aquacise, Tai Chi and Salsa.

Touch rugby (complete beginners welcome - male and female) at Welwyn Rugby Club.

• Wednesday 23 - Health walk in Stevenage.

• Thursday 24 - Running group (hosted by Stevenage Striders) in Hampson Park, Stevenage, for those who can run approximately 4km.

• Friday 25 - Gym taster session at Stevenage Leisure Centre.

• Tuesday 29 - Running group (hosted by Stevenage Striders) in Hampson Park, Stevenage, for those who can run approximately 4km.

• Wednesday 30 - Health walk in Stevenage.

• Thursday 31 - Running group (hosted by Stevenage Striders) in Hampson Park, Stevenage, for those who can run approximately 4km.

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