October 10, 2023

World Mental Health Day: 'Archery is my escape'

Today is World Mental Health Day, a day dedicated to raising awareness and getting people talking about the importance of looking after your mental wellbeing. Paralympic champion Phoebe Paterson Pine talks about how archery helps her cope with the stresses of everyday life.

With a need for focus, strength and determination, archery has been shown to calm the mind and body with attention directed at the target ahead. As a sport, archers must learn to remove distractions from their mind and concentrate on the task at hand, putting aside their anxieties and being in the moment.

As one of the few sports accessible to all, every gender, age or ability, archery offers an outlet for everyone. Regardless of fitness or sporting prowess, the sport gives many the opportunity to escape from the worries of everyday life and focus the mind.

Tokyo Paralympic champion, Phoebe Paterson Pine has spoken openly about her mental health journey, suffering from depression and anxiety. Phoebe credits sport and in particular archery, with aiding her, she says: "We all have days when we are struggling to leave our problems at home and that is fine. But for me, when I head out onto the archery range, I have an escape, an outlet to get away from the stresses. Archery gives me a purpose."

Phoebe started archery in 2012, having had to give up swimming due to injury and says: "From the very first session it felt right. Since then, the joy it has given me as something to get up and do every day is invaluable."

Supporting the World Mental Health Day message of 'Mental health is a universal human right', Archery GB is offering everyone the chance to get stuck in, with classes and venues across the country and see for themselves, the positive benefit archery can have on wellbeing and mental health. 

"As a sport, we’re looking to raise awareness of the incredible benefits of archery, for individuals' health and wellbeing," said Ruth Hall, Chief Executive of Archery GB. "We know the value archery can bring, contributing to the mental health of our sportsmen and women and all those taking part in archery.

"Recently, Archery GB attended the inaugural meeting of the government’s National Physical Activity Taskforce, set up to deliver the goal of getting 3.5m more people active by 2030. We’re focused on helping more people realise the benefits of taking up an activity such as archery, whether outdoors or indoors, and the transformative impact it can have on your mental wellbeing."

Research conducted by Women in Sport found that 55% of girls agreed that keeping fit and doing physical activity made them happier and 54% said that it made them less stressed. Initiatives from Archery GB, like Project Rimaya are throwing open the doors to communities and welcoming people who may be less likely to access the wellbeing benefits of other sports.

Where can I try archery?

Start your archery journey today by using our club finder:

Club finder

You can also try archery at one of our Archery Activity Partners where you'll be welcomed by Archery GB accredited instructors and given a safe and friendly introduction to the sport:

Archery Activity Partners 

How can I learn more about supporting mental health? 

UK Coaching, in partnership with Mind and Sport England, have launched a newly updated 'Mental Health Awareness for Sport and Physical Activity+' online course.

Developed for everyone involved in clubs, community sport, and physical activity – from coaches and activators to administrators and volunteers – this course offers a richer learning experience to ensure that you're more informed than ever.

Here's what's new:

  • Young People: featuring statistics and video content highlighting young people's experiences, along with guidance for those involved in promoting physical activity
  • Healthy relationships with physical activity: incorporating personal accounts of the importance of a healthy relationship with physical activity, guidance on identifying signs of unhealthy relationships, and ways to provide support when needed
  • Helping others to support themselves: including Mind's new Self-care library, which compiles various activities aimed at helping individuals support their own and others' wellbeing

Enrol now

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