As we approach World Mental Health Day, we are looking at mental health as our topic this month. 

As fitness professionals dealing with special populations, we will often have people in our sessions and gyms who have come or been referred to help them improve mental wellbeing.

In this short blog we look at some facts and figures about mental health and wellbeing and ways we can guide and signpost our clients and others to organisations that can help and advise them.

‘Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmary.’ World Health Organisation (WHO)

Facts and figures:

  • Approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year
  • In England, 1 in 6 people report experiencing a common mental health problem (such as anxiety and depression) in any given week

Mind – Mental health facts and statistics 2017

  • There were 6,213 suicides in the UK and Republic of Ireland in 2017
  • In the UK men remain three times as likely to take their own lives than women
  • There has been a significant decrease in male suicide in the UK, and the male suicide rate is the lowest in over 30 years.

Samaritans Suicide Statistics Report 2018

‘The overall number of people with mental health problems has not changed significantly in recent years, but worries about things like money, jobs and benefits can make it harder for people to cope.

It appears that how people cope with mental health problems is getting worse as the number of people who self-harm or have suicidal thoughts is increasing.’

McManus S, Bebbington P, Jenkins R, Brugha T. (eds.) (2016). Mental health and wellbeing in England: Adult psychiatric morbidity survey 2014

Physical activity

‘Participation in regular physical activity can increase self-esteem and reduce stress and anxiety. Physical activity can help play a role in preventing mental health problems and improve the quality of life of those experiencing it. For example, there is an approximately 20–30% lower risk for depression and dementia, for adults participating in daily physical activity.’

Department of Health PA, Health Improvement and Protection, (2011). Start Active, Stay Active: A report on physical activity from the four home countries’ Chief Medical Officers. London: Department of Health.

The NHS also outline 5 steps to mental wellbeing:

  • Connect– with people around you
  • Be active – make activities you enjoy part of your life
  • Keep learning learning new skills can give you a sense of achievement
  • Give to others – even the smallest act can count
  • Be mindful be more aware of the present moment

5 steps to mental wellbeing Moodzone – NHS

By teaching our clients new skills and making our sessions social, friendly, fun and even teaching mindfulness and relaxation, or giving out information, we can help people improve mental health. If you would like to further your knowledge in this area and learn more about some of the most common mental health disorders and how you can help identify people who might need support, you may be interested in the Mental Health Awareness and Mental Health First Aid course.


Let’s make exercise and physical activity more inclusive and accessible but developing our awareness of mental health.