A report exploring how physical activity could be better used within NHS Talking Therapies to help improve the mental health outcomes of service users has been published today.
Led by Transformation Partners in Health and Care, alongside us and the Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust, the new report is the result of interviews with nearly 400 people – including NHS Talking Therapies staff, community physical activity providers, commissioners and service users.
We know there is overwhelming evidence that physical activity can reduce the risk of mental health problems such as anxiety and depression, as well as helping to manage the symptoms.
And the report found there was a widespread appetite to do more to increase physical activity levels through Talking Therapies services, but the majority of those interviewed said they didn’t think enough was being done currently – due to barriers like a lack of knowledge or time.
Our national partnerships lead for health and inactivity, Suzie Gittus, has welcomed the report and hopes it will improve services in the future.
“This report clearly shows that there is an appetite from everyone involved to better use physical activity as part of NHS Talking Therapies, as a way of improving the mental health of people living with anxiety and depression,” she said.
“There is clear evidence already that shows physical activity can help, but the report highlights some of the barriers which currently prevent it being routinely used in treatment.
“Sport England, together with our partners, plans to reduce these barriers and encourage the implementation of the report’s recommendations, so that more people living with a mental health condition can reap the benefits of an active life.”
The report contains a series of recommendations to help improve the use of physical activity, from equipping staff with more knowledge and furthering collaboration between services, to the development of guides and communities of practice.