England Athletics launch national mental wellbeing campaign

#17MinutesForMe is a pioneering 8-week campaign that encourages participants to take the time for 17 minutes of physical activity three times a week during the World Para Athletics Championships and the IAAF World Championships taking place in London in July and August.

#17MinutesForMe Campaign ambassador Matt Johnson

Celebrities, including Matt Johnson, Anna Williamson, Nick Bright and four-time Olympian Donna Fraser, have teamed up with England Athletics and mental health charity Mind, to launch a national campaign to highlight the importance of getting physically active for mental health and wellbeing.

The challenge is part of Team Personal Best - one of the projects created under the Inspiration Programme which will harness the impact of hosting the World Para Athletics Championships and IAAF World Championships through a series of grassroots athletics projects.

The purpose of the campaign is to enhance mental wellbeing and encourage ongoing participation in running and athletics. Young, old, active or inactive, this is a challenge that everyone can take part in either individually or with others!

Welsh TV star Matt Johnson, a Mind ambassador, spoke of his own struggle with depression and why he’s involved with #17MinutesForMe.

Matt said:

“17MinutesForMe is going to bring together mental and physical wellbeing - two things that have a big personal meaning for me.
“The challenges we face in our lives are all different. And so are our minds and our bodies. But what we do know is that being active, in a way that works for you, can help reduce the risk of depression by up to 30%. And this is what #17MinutesForMe is all about - looking after your body and your mind.”

Each week, a #17MinutesForMe ‘team leader’ will take the lead to motivate and encourage participants to keep going throughout the challenge, through emails and social media content. All of the team leaders have their own reasons for why mental wellbeing is so important to them.

Mind ambassador and TV presenter Anna Williamson feels passionately about the benefits of exercise on mental wellbeing having used exercise to overcome anxiety. Also an author, counsellor and mum, Anna truly feels that taking time out for yourself is crucial for good mental health. 

Anna and Matt will be joined by a Dudley Mind volunteer, John who has a heart warming story to share about how running changed his life and helped him to manage his depression at the age of 72. And, Lucy who is a England Athletics Mental Health Ambassador and RunTogether Run Leader. Lucy leads several running groups in her community that aim to help people de-stress and relax.

Radio 1xtra’s Nick Bright and Four-time Olympian Donna Fraser will also feature in the challenge. 

#17MinutesForMe launches today - head to 17minutesforme.com and sign up to receive your first week of emails, packed full of exciting content and activities beginning on Monday 3 July.

For more information about #17MinutesForMe contact Helen Newberry, Inclusion Manager England Athletics email Helen or call 07718 394516.

The World Para Athletics Championships London 2017 and IAAF World Championships London 2017 are together the biggest sporting event of the year and the biggest event to be staged in the Olympic Stadium since the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.