Find your ‘get up and go’ in Calderdale this Mental Health Awareness Day


The NHS provider of mental health and wellbeing services in Calderdale is reminding people of the importance of exercise for good wellbeing for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week.

For one week each May the Mental Health Foundation campaigns around a specific theme for Mental Health Awareness Week. The theme for this year’s campaign, which runs from 13-19 May, is physical activity and exercise, highlighting the impact they have on mental health and wellbeing.

South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust knows only too well the positive impact physical activity can have on physical and mental wellbeing and encourages activity in the delivery of care.

When service users at the Elmdale ward at The Dales Unit in Calderdale expressed an interest in cycling, the occupational therapy team was quick to respond. Securing funding from the Trust’s ‘Creative Minds’ initiative, the team bought four mountain bikes and accessories and have set up a cycling group to help promote the physical health and wellbeing of people using acute mental health services.

Service users who are interested are encouraged to build up their confidence in cycling independently and are helped to find local cycling groups so that they can continue when they leave hospital. Positive results include improved self esteem and confidence, better physical health, increased social interaction and a reduction in stress.

One service user who has taken part said, “I feel positive and uplifted and more confident following the session.”

Physiotherapists recommend that adults exercise at moderate intensity for 30 minutes, 5 times a week, but this could be broken up into three or four smaller chunks. Just being a little more active throughout the day can benefit all-round wellbeing.

Richard Bates an occupational therapist on the Elmdale Ward, said, “We often hear about the health benefits of exercising in reducing conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, but it can be just as beneficial to our mental wellbeing. 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem during the course of a year, so chances are we all know someone who is having problems. Exercise can help people boost their overall wellbeing and help ease any stress they might be feeling before it gets worse. We hope the awareness week will help emphasise how beneficial exercise is to mental health and wellbeing.”

Richard continued, “Getting active doesn’t have to mean sweating it out in the gym or running yourself ragged on the treadmill. Physical activity can be anything from competitive sport and exercise to active hobbies such as walking, dancing or activities of daily living, such as housework and DIY. Simply put – any movement that makes you feel warm and slightly out of breath.”

For more information about South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, including how to become a member, visit

Find your ‘get up and go’ in Calderdale this Mental Health Awareness Day

time to read: 2 min