March 11, 2019, by braoc4

#MensHealthActive launches with successful event on University Mental Health Day

On Thursday 7th March, University of Nottingham Sport launched its brand new mental health initiative, Men’s Health Active. Seeking to encourage male students to take steps to improve their mental wellbeing through the use of physical activity.

The launch event kicked off with a panel session and Q&A hosted by Assistant Director of Sport, Sam Bell-Minogue. Three guest speakers made up the panel, each invited to reflect on their own experiences of mental health and wellbeing.

Etienne Stott MBE – Olympic gold medallist at the London 2012 games and University of Nottingham alumni spoke about his experiences of performing under pressure and how competitive athletes need to appear tough.

“Sport is fundamentally about the challenge. There’s a certain amount of toughness you have to display. I wasn’t blessed with extraordinary courage and I always felt that sport was a test of bravery, a chance to display that and produce in those big moments.”

Reflecting on the ‘There’s no strength in silence’ slogan which accompanies campaign, he went on to say:

“I actually came to the conclusion that it takes more bravery to speak out about something, than it does to tough it out. It was important in our team that we did have lots of support, but it means nothing if you don’t ask [for it].”

Ed Tarlton who is an Assistant Producer for Premier League Productions and also a University of Nottingham alumni reflected on his time at the university, being involved with the Football Club whilst also finding ways to keep active.

“The difference was, when you’re paying performance sport, fitness is a big part. [But] it’s quite difficult to be bad at exercise, because to me it came down to doing something rather than nothing. Whether it was going for a run, going to the gym, going for a walk, going for a swim.”

“Sometimes when you’re struggling to get out of bed in the morning, just feeling like you’ve done something where you didn’t have to, when your impetus was telling you not to bother. To go to the gym, you feel like you are reclaiming some control over what you’re doing.”

Andy Winter, Director of Campus Life at The University of Nottingham talked about how he “found physical activity, in particular running helped to scaffold and manage” his mental health.
Answering a question on why mental health has become such a big focus at university, he said:

“There are so many different pressures. There’s a greater expectation on getting a well paying job after university. Social media also acts as a microscope and an amplifier on any issues.”

“But you put this against a backdrop where the stigma is reducing so that people feel like they can be more open about some of the things that might be going on with themselves.”

The audience then got the opportunity to ask the panel some questions before the talk was wrapped up and attendees were invited to take part in a series of taster sessions which will now form the programme in the coming weeks.

Following this launch event, we will be running a series of different activities and sports which will be supported by talk shops. These sessions will run for five weeks with the possibility of continuing into term three.

You can view the full list of sessions coming up here: 

If you would like support accessing any of these sessions or if you have any questions, please contact the MHA-Sport team.

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