East of England Mental Health Conference for Sport and Physical Activity

With restrictions preventing large gatherings still in force, the Herts Sports and Physical Activity Partnership (HSP) is bringing its inaugural mental health conference online this September in an attempt to ensure that Hertfordshire is ready to welcome the post-pandemic challenge of poorer mental health across the sport and physical activity landscape.

Taking place on 17 September, those tuning in will have a full, free programme to choose from, starting with RED January’s Hannah Beecham; wellbeing check in service GoVox and a bespoke webinar discussing how to evaluate mental health projects. In the afternoon author and eating disorder specialist Hope Virgo talks about how to ‘Raise Awareness and Challenge the Stigma’; the day finishing with Hertfordshire’s ‘Just Talk’ campaign – a movement dedicated to encouraging young people to speak about their mental health.

Project Officer Alicja Polak has organised the event under the guise of HSP’s wider role as the East of England Mind Network Hub. Until March 2021, HSP has a responsibility to advocate mental health across the region. She commented:

‘Now more than ever, it’s important to look at the link between physical activity and mental health. We are excited to host the conference and have so many great speakers involved who in their everyday lives, advocate for positive wellbeing.

‘By bringing the event online, we can undoubtedly cater for a larger audience than if we were at our usual ‘home’ – the University of Hertfordshire – so the restrictions may actually enable us to share such vital messages further into the region than we had initially anticipated.’

HSP Director John O’Callaghan said:

‘As we continue to emerge from the pandemic, we have a responsibility to create a new type of frontline support for mental health within the field of sport and physical activity. We have spent a number of years supporting the county’s sporting workforce to equip themselves with the right qualifications and soft skills to deliver their activities; now we need to ensure that they have the chance to make life changing differences to their participants’ mental wellbeing, too.’

To sign up to the webinars, please visit East of England Mental Health Conference for Sport and Physical Activity by Monday 14 September.