Residents encouraged to get active to improve mental health

A spotlight is being shone on mental health and wellbeing as part of Safeguarding Week.

Glen Hilton

The Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown has put people across North Yorkshire in an unprecedented situation. For many, this has had an effect on their mental health and wellbeing.

And it’s important to look after your own mental health as well as looking out for people around you.

Support Time Recovery worker Glen Hilton is encouraging people to take up walking or running where it’s safe to do so.

Glen said: “A 30-minute walk everyday will certainly help with your mental and physical health. Also a 5k run or bike ride three times a week can certainly help – following the couch to 5k app helps you build up stamina if you haven’t run before.

“Make sure you consult your GP if you have health-related issues before you take up running and bike riding.”

Glen has been an athletics coach for 30 years and combined sports with his mental health work, setting up a walking group in Northallerton three years ago. It was a success and it spread across the county.

Although Glen’s groups have been paused during lockdown, he has checked in on the service users who are part of them and hopes to get back out there soon.

He said: “Part of my day-to-day job is monitoring service users and their mental health. But one of my big things over the last year was starting running and walking groups across the county.

“My background is as an athletics coach, and I started the idea a few years ago in Northallerton and it’s gone from there. I started doing walks with people and then it expanded into running and walking groups.”

Glen added he’s seen people go to park runs, complete 10ks and even marathons after attending and enjoying the group.

Glen says: “It’s so rewarding seeing people get so much out of running and walking.”

Karen Siennicki, Head of Mental Health, EDT and DoLS at North Yorkshire County Council, said: “We need to remember for some people their mental health can mean they are on the periphery of society; stigmatised and excluded from the things other people take for granted.

“For some people, the challenge to maintain wellbeing is more than can be achieved by one person or organisation. We must ensure there is a holistic approach to support from all partners to safeguard and promote people’s rights and wellbeing, ensuring the person remains the focus.”

Safeguarding Week has run from Monday, June 22, until today (Friday) with a focus on different areas – including mental health and wellbeing – throughout the week.

Safeguarding means working together to stop abuse and prevent it happening in the future – everyone has a right to live a life that is free from abuse and neglect.

Safeguarding is everybody’s business and any concern should be reported.

The aims of the week are to emphasise that everyone has a role to play in spotting the signs of harm, encourage the public and professionals in all walks of life to be aware of the many forms abuse can take, and what to do if they are worried about someone.

The hashtag #TellUsYourConcerns has been used throughout the week.

If you are worried about a child, young person or adult, telephone North Yorkshire County Council Customer Service Centre on 01609 780780 and #TellUsYourConcerns.

This story was published 26 June 2020