Getting more people out and active on World Health Day

World Health Day takes place in association with the World Health Organisation. Every year on 7 April there is a particular health theme and in 2017, the campaign focuses on depression. Get Out Get Active (GOGA), funded by Spirit of 2012, is a leading programme pushing boundaries in getting disabled and non-disabled people active. This annual event is an opportunity for all to get involved in activities that lead to better health, including GOGA fun across the country.

Two people on a bike

According to the latest estimates from the World Health Organisation (WHO), more than 300 million people are now living with depression, an increase of more than 18% between 2005 and 2015. Lack of assistance for people with mental health problems, coupled with a fear of stigma, prevent many from accessing support they need to live healthy, productive lives.

The new estimates were released in the lead-up to World Health Day on 7 April, the high point in WHO’s year-long campaign “Depression: let’s talk”. The overall goal of the campaign is that more people with depression, everywhere in the world, both seek and get help.

Depression can happen to anybody. It causes mental anguish and affects people’s ability to carry out everyday tasks.

Research shows taking part in sport and active recreation is effective in reducing depression, anxiety, psychological distress and emotional disturbance. Low to moderate physical exercise can reduce anxiety and have both short and long-term beneficial effects on psychological health. Taking part in sport and spectating can have a positive impact on the wellbeing and happiness of young people. (ONS, 2014).

GOGA’s partners recognise the role activity has in tackling depression. Here are some ideas that could help boost your mental health:

  • Join a group. This could be anything from a community project or a sports team to a hobby group. The important thing is to find an activity you enjoy, or perhaps something you have always wanted to try, to help you feel motivated.
  • Try new things. Trying something new (like starting a new hobby or learning something new) can help boost your mood and break unhelpful patterns of thinking and behaviour.
  • Try volunteering. Volunteering (or just offering to help someone out) can make you feel better about yourself and less alone.
  • Set realistic goals. Try to set yourself achievable goals, like getting dressed every day or cooking yourself a meal. Achieving your goals can help you feel good and boost your self-confidence, and help you move on to bigger ones.

Boosting mental and physical health in the UK with Get Out Get Active

Get Out Get Active (GOGA) is an exciting programme that supports disabled and non‑disabled people to take part in fun and inclusive activities together. All partners are focused on getting some of the UK's least active people moving more through fun and inclusive activities.

The programme runs for over three years (2016-2019) and within 18 localities across the UK. We have teamed up with an extensive range of partners to help us reach more people, who have the greatest need to get out and get active. These partners offer in-depth local knowledge and national expertise.

Partners are guided by the English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS) Talk to Me ten principles. These principles result from research with disabled people, which explored what helps to make activities more appealing and accessible. If used effectively, the principles apply to a wide range of inactive audiences - not just disabled people.

We want to support more people to lead active and healthier lifestyles. By doing this, we can actively help to build stronger and more unified communities. The £4.5million investment means we can also proactively share results on a wider scale, so others can benefit from and use our learning. 

GOGA aims to:

  • Reach 16,500 individual participants, at least 40% of whom will remain active
  • Deliver over 30,000 sessions through 550 different activities
  • Recruit, train and involve over 2,000 volunteers
  • Improve confidence and competence through 500 training sessions

Since it began in 2016, GOGA has seen:

  • More than 80 activities and events with over 2000 people involved so far.
  • Activities delivered in schools, churches, community centres, leisure centres, parks and youth zones. Some examples include family fitness sessions in Bradford and providing chair-based activities in GP surgeries in Stoke. Another opportunity on the east coast of Lincolnshire supports older people to be active in communal facilities within residential caravan parks.
  • A superb response from Volunteering Matters’ recruitment campaign to engage volunteers in GOGA activities

To find out more, please visit the GOGA website.