Following a much-needed rethink by England Athletics, the Mental Health Ambassador programme has finished and now being relaunched as the #runandtalk programme.

What this means

The role of Mental Health Ambassador will now be replaced by the Mental Health Champion role. England Athletics will also appoint around 50 Mental Health Ambassadors around the country, which will now support the Mental Health Champions within clubs. The aims of the programme and Mental Health Champions are to:

  • Promote mental wellbeing through running by supporting the aims of #runandtalk
  • Work with their club/group to support its members to improve their mental health through running.
  • Support new people who are experiencing mental health problems to start running, get back into running, or continue running.

How this will affect the club

As a committee, we have discussed how best to support the #runandtalk programme and the role of the Mental Health Champions in the club. Our plans are as follows:

  • Existing Mental Health Ambassadors under the previous programme as well as other club members interested in the role will be invited to apply to become a Mental Health Champion
  • The committee will aim to appoint five club Mental Health Champions
  • A lead champion will be appointed by the committee to co-ordinate the work of the Mental Health Champions
  • The lead champion will be voted on to the committee to ensure the aims of the programme are considered alongside all club activities
  • Once formed, the Mental Health Champions will meet to form a plan of activities and communicate out to the rest of the club

What will happen now

If you are interested in applying to become a Mental Health Champion, first take a look at the responsibilities and criteria.

Visibility is a big part of the role; we are looking for members that regularly attend club runs and events rather than occasional attendance. This will help the Mental Health Champions become more connected with the club, engaging, talking with and supporting club members.

Part of the criteria to become a Mental Health Champion is having lived experience of a mental health problem, either personally or from a close relative or friend. If you are unsure about taking a leadership role without any training to support you in the role, the club will soon be announcing the Mental Health Awareness training, which all Mental Health Champions would be eligible for free of charge.

If you are interested please fill in the Mental Health Champion Application Form.

The deadline for applications is Sunday 13th May. Following this, the committee will review applications and form the group ready for the deadline to submit to England Athletics by the end of the month.

If you don’t feel you have the time to commit to becoming a Mental Health Champion, but would still like to help, supporting their activities over the coming months will be very much appreciated.

These changes are a positive step forward by England Athletics to promote positive mental health and through the #runandtalk programme, I look forward to seeing the impact the club’s Mental Health Champions will have on members of our club and the wider community.

Kind regards,

Paul Evans
Black Pear Joggers