Community groups and campaigners from across the Harrogate district have gone above and beyond to generate vital funds and awareness for World Mental Health Day, which took place yesterday, Thursday.
A prominent theme explored in the important commemorations each year is the life-changing power of sport, and the strong link between physical and mental wellbeing.
Harrogate District Swimming Club has pulled out all the stops to celebrate this positive relationship by doing a sponsored swim at The Hydro and raising money for Starbeck-based mental health charity Wellspring Therapy and Training.
Inspired by the UCI Road World Championships, swimmers completed 14km loops, with all the club’s squads taking part in the relay - from ages nine to 18-plus.
Wellspring trustee, Michelle Lepine, said: “With all the buzz around the UCI championships, it’s a great opportunity to continue promoting a positive message about sport and to draw attention to the link between physical and mental wellbeing.
“This event raises awareness of mental health and the benefits of sport. My daughter has been part of the club for nine years, and I’ve seen first-hand how sport can be beneficial for mental health. It’s great that the club recognises the importance of wellbeing among their young people and want to promote Wellspring.”
According to North Yorkshire County Council’s 2018 Young and Yorkshire report, over half of adult mental health issues start before the age of 14, and 75 per cent before 18 years old.
In Harrogate, Wellspring is working hard to meet this need through providing support for young people, as well as adults. The charity offers affordable one-to-one counselling and runs support groups for young people at their premises, and in schools.
Wellspring director, Emily Fullarton, said: “Being able to access counselling is vital for some young people, especially for families with limited finances. In 2018 we saw 201 young people for 879 counselling sessions, and in 2019 this number has grown.
“Statistics about youth mental health in the news can often be disheartening, however, we believe that at Wellspring we really can make a difference and equip young people and adults to look after their mental wellbeing, whether that includes taking up a sport, learning to speak out about their feelings with someone they trust, or becoming part of a support group. There is so much we can do to prevent the development of mental health problems.”
If you need help, contact Wellspring at: 01423881 881 or email firstname.lastname@example.org