Sport support for mental health in spotlight

Volunteers, practitioners and experts have gathered to discuss how sport can support action on mental health and dementia.

The University and the Scottish Football Museum have joined forces to champion and showcase the role of sport and physical activity at an event at Scotland’s national football stadium, Hampden Park.

Experts from Scotland and America discussed health, ageing and current knowledge about dementia.

They also heard how Scotland is leading the way in some areas in which sport can be seen to be supporting mental health and dementia interventions.

The event was organised in part by University researchers.

Health initiatives

Participants heard about football clubs taking forward health programmes in local communities, exercise and dance initiatives in care homes to support mental health, and how sport is being used to address HIV education in other parts of the world.

Office for National Statistics (ONS) data shows that Britons have suffered the first fall in healthy life expectancy for at least 30 years.

While many elderly people are learning to live rewarding lives and manage long term conditions, dementia remains one of the greatest health challenges.

No one silver bullet exists to solve mental health and dementia challenges, but the opportunities are significant for sport and physical activity to be seen to support individual, family and community life, including health inequalities.

Professor Grant JarvieUniversity of Edinburgh