Physical activity, being outdoors and socialising can all play an important part in improving mental wellbeing, and archery has this in abundance. Archery GB has signed up to the Sport and Recreation Alliance Mental Health in Sport Charter and we want to ensure our sport creates a welcoming, inclusive, and positive environment for everyone to participate in. We also encourage people to talk about mental health and to seek help and support when needed.
So, what is mental wellbeing?
Mental wellbeing refers to how a person thinks, feels, and manages their life experiences and challenges. People with good mental wellbeing find it easier to cope well with day-to-day stresses of life and find it easier to manage their emotions and behaviours. Someone who is experiencing poor mental wellbeing may be unable to control negative thoughts or feelings. They may experience feelings of anxiety, low mood and loneliness.
That’s why Archery GB has signed up to The Mental Health Charter for Sport and Recreation, and we are committing to:
Many sporting organisations have signed up to the Charter. We aim to demonstrate how we will use archery to support good mental well-being, tackle stigma and support everyone to better understand mental health.
We’re also looking for archers to help advocate and support this work. If you have experience of mental health conditions and would like to find out more about being an advocate please email email@example.com and we’ll be in touch with more information.
Depression is a feeling of low mood that lasts for a long time and affects your everyday life. It can make you feel hopeless, despairing, guilty, worthless, unmotivated and exhausted. It can affect your self-esteem, sleep, appetite, sex drive and your physical health.
In its mildest form, depression doesn't stop you leading a normal life, but it makes everything harder to do and seem less worthwhile. At its most severe, depression can make you feel suicidal, and be life-threatening.
Some types occur during or after pregnancy (antenatal and postnatal depression), or may come back each year around the same time (seasonal affective disorder).
Anxiety is what we feel when we are worried, tense or afraid – particularly about things that are about to happen, or which we think could happen in the future.
Occasional anxiety is a normal human experience. But if your feelings of anxiety are very strong, or last for a long time, they can be overwhelming. You might also experience physical symptoms such as sleep problems and panic attacks.
You might be diagnosed with a particular anxiety disorder, such as generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety (social phobia), panic disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). But it's also possible to experience problems with anxiety without having a specific diagnosis.
A phobia is an extreme form of fear or anxiety triggered by a particular situation (such as going outside) or object (such as spiders), even when it's very unlikely to be dangerous.
A fear becomes a phobia if the fear is out of proportion to the danger, it lasts for more than six months, and has a significant impact on how you live your day-to-day life.
Eating problems are not just about food. They can be about difficult things and painful feelings which you may be finding hard to face or resolve. Lots of people think that if you have an eating problem you will be over or underweight, and that being a certain weight is always associated with a specific eating problem, but this is a myth. Anyone, regardless of age, gender or weight, can be affected by eating problems. The most common eating disorder diagnoses are anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder, and other specified feeding or eating disorder (OSFED). But it's also possible to have a very difficult relationship with food and not fit the criteria for any specific diagnosis.
Views on schizophrenia have changed over the years. Lots of people question whether it's really a distinct condition, or actually a few different conditions that overlap. But you may still be given this diagnosis if you experience symptoms such as:
Because psychiatric experts disagree about what schizophrenia is, some people argue that this term shouldn't be used at all. Others think the name of the condition doesn't matter and prefer to just focus on helping you manage your symptoms and meeting your individual needs.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a type of anxiety disorder. The term is often misused in daily conversation – for example, you might hear people talk about being 'a bit OCD', if they like things to be neat and tidy. But the reality of this disorder is a lot more complex and serious.
OCD has two main parts: obsessions (unwelcome thoughts, images, urges, worries or doubts that repeatedly appear in your mind; and compulsions (repetitive activities that you feel you have to do to reduce the anxiety caused by the obsession).
Personality disorder is a type of mental health problem where your attitudes, beliefs and behaviours cause you longstanding problems in your life. If you have this diagnosis it doesn't mean that you're fundamentally different from other people, but you may regularly experience difficulties with how you think about yourself and others and find it very difficult to change these unwanted patterns.
There are several different categories and types of personality disorder, but most people who are diagnosed with a particular personality disorder do not fit any single category very clearly or consistently. Also, the term 'personality disorder' can sound very judgemental.
Bipolar disorder (once called manic depression) mainly affects your mood. With this diagnosis you are likely to have times when you experience: manic or hypomanic episodes (feeling high); depressive episodes (feeling low); and potentially some psychotic symptoms.
Everyone has variations in their mood, but in bipolar disorder these swings can feel very extreme and have a big impact on your life. In between, you might have stable times where you experience fewer symptoms.
The importance of mental wellbeing concerns for children has been emphasised throughout the Working Together to Safeguard Children framework. The significance of mental health concerns about a child has been linked to abuse, neglect, or exploitation. While aimed at school staff, the advice to refer concerns about a child’s mental health to children’s services while not making mental health diagnoses is relevant to other roles including sport.
The East Midlands Physical Activity and Mental Health Network held a webinar to discuss issues related to the wellbeing of children and young people. Run in conjunction with mental health charity Mind, the youth-related wellbeing webinar is freely available to view.
Officially titled ‘Workforce Confidence to Support Children and Young People’s Wellbeing’, the webinar brought together a number of representatives from across the region, including Newark Castle Archers’ Chair, Mandie Elson, to discuss ways to support the mental health of children and young people, with archery being promoted as a wonderful opportunity to help build or restore confidence and fitness levels.
It can be difficult to know how to help an adult who is dealing with poor mental wellbeing. These are a few tips on how to support them. However, it is advisable they seek help from their GP.
Mental health charity Mind has a mental and physical wellbeing toolkit for the sports sector.
The kit comprises ten guides, including topics such as safeguarding, funding and sustainability and engaging people in physical activity to support their mental health. Each guide provides advice, tools, templates, and good practice case studies.
Mind worked with many people and organisations to develop the toolkit, with the aim of helping clubs and organisations provide an inclusive and welcoming environment for people experiencing mental health problems in physical activity.
After a traumatic accident John Stubbs hit an all time low. Discovering archery gave him a sense of purpose and a way of challenging himself which he felt had been lacking following his life changing injuries.
After becoming a gold medallist at the Beijing 2008 Paralympics, John shared his story with the BBC.
If you are concerned that you are developing a mental health problem you should seek the advice and support of your GP as a matter of priority.
If you are in distress and need immediate help and are unable to see a GP, you should visit your local A&E.
This link details services and organisations that offer help and support directly to people struggling with mental health problems
0300 123 3393
Information resources and support services across England and Wales
Helplines 24/7 providing emotional support to anyone in emotional distress, struggling to cope or at risk of suicide
Network of 140 peer support groups and services including supported housing, one-to-one help for carers, and group activities for people leaving hospital
NHS Mental Health Services
Website provides details of support services and access to NHS professionals
Text ‘Shout’ to 85258
Shout 85258 is a free confidential 24/7 text messaging service
0800 138 1619
Provides mental health treatment and support for veterans from every service and conflict
03444 775 774
Text: 07537 416905
Support to access therapy and self help group
Online peer support groups
0808 801 0677
UK’s eating disorder charity
0808 8020 133
Provides free 24/7 service offering support and advice for anyone harmed by gambling
Counsellors provide free advice and support for children and young people on any issue
0808 802 5544
Parent helpline - Mental health support for young people
0808 800 5000
Professional counsellors offer support and advice for under 18s