Sir Chris Hoy launches mental health and sports project

Champion cyclist, who jointly holds record for most Olympic gold medals by a UK competitor, says sport has boosted his mental wellbeing

Tes Reporter

Photo credit should read: SAMH/Lenny Warren/Warren Media/PA Wire

Olympic gold medal winner Sir Chris Hoy has helped launch a new mental health and sports partnership for schools.

Announced on World Mental Health Day, the scheme will offer mental health training to 400 Active School Coordinators.

The partnership between mental health charity the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) and Sportscotland aims to help youngsters use physical activity to boost their mental health.

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Sir Chris, a record-breaking six-time Olympic gold medal cyclist, launched the scheme at Tynecastle High School in Edinburgh.

He said: "I'm proud to mark 10 years as a SAMH ambassador by launching a new partnership that will help the next generation of young people have better mental health through physical activity.

"I've experienced some of the biggest highs in sporting history but there have been low points, too."

He added: "During those low moments it was cycling that gave me the strength to keep going. I'm a real believer in the link between physical activity and good mental health as I know how my mood and wellbeing can be affected if I don't manage to get out on my bike regularly."

SAMH chief executive Billy Watson said: "We're thrilled to announce this strategic partnership with Sportscotland, which we believe could be a major breakthrough in building the mental health and wellbeing capacities within sports and their organisations."

Stewart Harris, Sportscotland chief executive, also welcomed the new partnership.

"If it can help even one young person to cope with mental health problems and allow them to fulfil their potential, that would be a fantastic achievement," he said.

Earlier this week, research released by Girlguiding Scotland found that most girls have a friend who has self-harmed.

The study also showed that a "worrying" 15 per cent of girls and young women aged 7-25 report feeling unhappy most of the time.

The charity's survey suggests that as girls get older their happiness declines. Just two in five girls aged 7-11 described themselves as "very happy", falling to just one in five women among those aged 18-25.

From the pressure to do well at school to worrying about their appearance, the charity said that the demands of everyday life are having real consequences for girls’ wellbeing.

Photo: SAMH/Lenny Warren/Warren Media/PA Wire

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