Skip to content

Spot. Support. Signpost.

To celebrate Time to Talk day, Mind's physical activity operations manager presents the charity's new campaign to get people talking about mental health so we can help each other feel better.

1st February 2024

by Sam Perks
Physical activity operations manager, Mind

As Beth (not her real name) nervously went along to her first yoga class she felt she had a choice to make.

Would she trust Sophie (the yoga instructor, also not her real name) and share how her mental health could potentially impact her practice, or would she say nothing?

It takes Beth a long time to build up trust in someone and to feel able to confide in them, so she didn't say anything and just hoped for the best.

Beth is one of the people with lived experience of mental health problems who’s supported the development of our Spot. Support. Signpost. initiative that we launch today as we celebrate Time to Talk Day - a key day where we all come together to talk about mental health.

Our duty to care

With one-in-four people experiencing a mental health problem each year, many of us will experience the same feelings as Beth.

But we can change this because in many ways, mental health is just like physical health: everybody has it and we need to take care of it.

Through our Sport England system partnership, we want to build on the sector’s progress around mental health to make physical activity a safe and inclusive environment in which to participate, volunteer and/or work.

This includes this new initiative we launch today.

We’ve developed it to help anyone (from volunteers through to senior leaders) to:

  • Spot the signs someone may be struggling.
  • Support them (if you feel able to do so).
  • Signpost them to help and services.

In many ways, mental health is just like physical health: everybody has it and we need to take care of it.

It doesn’t make you a mental health expert, and nor should you be.

But we all have a duty of care to support the people around us, and Spot. Support. Signpost. gives small, everyday actions that can make a big difference.

These could be as simple as asking someone how they have been feeling since the last session, listening to what they have to say and reassuring them it’s good to talk.

And to support these endeavours we’ve created a range of bite-size assets including:

  • an animation in partnership with Buddle
  • a text message video of a conversation using Spot. Support. Signpost.
  • social media graphics
  • signposting infographics
  • lived experience blogs.

Based on lived-experiences

Most of the assets are editable, so content can be transferred into your own branding.

But this work hasn’t been led by us.

Instead, the stars of the show are an amazing group of people with lived experience of mental health problems and physical activity deliverers, who’ve shared their lived experience to shape the content we offer you on this great campaign.

As a result, the assets focus on how people with mental health problems want to be supported by physical activity deliverers.

We also worked with people who deliver physical activity to make sure the resources are relevant to their needs too.

Coaches, fitness instructors, personal trainers and volunteers have decided what assets we create and what they look like.

But we know supporting people isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach.

So we want to continue to evolve and build our Spot. Support. Signpost. initiative to be there for as many people as possible.

So if you have feedback or suggestions, please contact our Physical Activity team.

As part of the initiative, we’re also embedding Spot. Support. Signpost. into existing and future work across the sector.

It’s been embedded into UK Coaching’s Duty to Care badge to support the three million coaches in the UK.

It will also be included in CIMSPA’s forthcoming core curriculum to ensure every role in sport has a basic understanding of Spot. Support. Signpost.

And we will be integrating it into qualifications, training, resources and more.

We know that many physical activity deliverers are already doing this and supporting people in their sessions, and this was indeed the case for Beth.

In the end there was no need for worrying, as from the start Sophie (yoga teacher) was “incredible and supportive”.

She asked Beth how she could best help her during class, what to look out for that might indicate that she had dissociated, and how to ‘bring her back’ if needed.

Sophie’s support, intuition, kindness, patience and unwavering faith in Beth helped her to make so many steps forward and grow as a person.

Beth admitted she wouldn’t be where she is today without Sophie.

Sign up to our newsletter

You can find out exactly how we'll look after your personal data, but rest assured we’ll only use it to make sure you receive our newsletter, to understand how you interact with our newsletter, and to provide administrative information about our newsletter.