Raise Awareness and End the Stigma

Mental illness is the single largest cost to the NHS and accounts for one third of all illnesses.

Despite the fact that an incredible 1-in-4 of us will be affected by a mental health problem this year there is still a tremendous amount of fear, misunderstanding and stigma attached to mental illness.

Mental health problems, however, shouldn’t be seen as something to avoid talking about as the reality is they can affect any one of us – regardless of our age, gender, sexuality or ethnic group. All of us at some point in our lives will be affected directly, or indirectly by mental illness so it’s important to speak about mental health problems openly.

At Sport in Mind we not only use sport and physical activity to help people on the road to recovery, but also as a vehicle for bringing people together to talk about mental illness and raise awareness. By helping people gain a greater understanding of mental health problems we can challenge the many negative stereotypes and take the taboo out of something that really does affect us all.

If you have a mental health problem you are not alone. Some of the most successful actors, writers, singers, sportsmen and women over the past 20 years have spoken about their own mental health problems, these include:

World Champion Boxers Frank Bruno and Ricky Hatton

Writer, actor and presenter Stephen Fry

Oscar winning writer and actress Emma Thompson

Hollywood actresses Catherine Zeta Jones

Hollywood actor Jim Carrey

Author JK Rowling

Singers Demi Lovato and Frankie Bridge (nee Sandford)

Journalist, broadcaster and political aide Alastair Campbell

Double Olympic Champion Athlete Dame Kelly Holmes

Footballers Tony Adams, Paul Merson and Paul Gascoigne

Rugby players Jonny Wilkinson and Jason Robinson

Cricketers Marcus Trescothick and Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff

Olympic Champion Cyclist Victoria Pendleton

Olympic Champion Swimmers Rebecca Adlington and Ian Thorpe

Tennis Legend Serena Williams