World Mental Health Day – 10th October

Rainbow scene
As signatories of the Mental Health Charter for Sport and Recreation Mountain Training is committed to making mental health a commonly understood matter and helping those in need.

Commonly understood

The positive impact that walking and climbing can have on a person’s mental health is well known within our industry and there’s more we can do to spread this message further. 80% of people agree that their mental health is improved if they exercise or are physically active and people who do regular physical activity have up to a 30% lower risk of depression. So let's share this message and make it easy for people to get involved in our activities.

Climbing and walking are great activities to engage in because they enable your brain an opportunity to focus, whether that’s on a climbing problem, your next step or a beautiful view. This in turn, requires less effort from the brain than the sort of focus required at work or school, so it allows the brain to recharge.

In a recent interview with Winter Mountain Leader Cat Trebilco, we discovered that stress and unhappiness at work had triggered her career change from human resources to working in the outdoors.

UKC have also got a great article which includes interviews with four people who strongly believe in the benefits of climbing for their mental wellbeing.

Helping those in need

People with Mountain Training qualifications run sessions for a wide range of individuals and are therefore likely to come into contact with someone struggling with a mental health issue at some point, given that 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year.

Helping someone in need is relatively straightforward if they’ve twisted an ankle or cut their hand, but what if they were suffering from an eating disorder or other mental distress?

“Mental Health First Aid training teaches people to spot the signs and symptoms of common mental health issues and also to provide support and signpost those affected to the appropriate help. It does not train people to be psychiatrists or counsellors, but to be able to offer a vital first line of support to a person in distress.” - Mountain Training Association member Stuart Skinner runs mental health first aid courses and there will be an article in the Winter 2016 edition of The Professional Mountaineer about the benefits of training in the this area.

More information about mental health can be found on the Mind website.

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