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