Mental Health and Wellbeing
The culture of the Black Pear Joggers is healthy exercise in a friendly and social environment at a time when modern life means that we need a de-stressing activity in a companionable atmosphere. Good mental health and wellbeing is an essential element of the culture, as it is in daily home and work life.
Mental health problems affect one in four of us each year, yet people are still afraid to talk about it. Experiencing a mental health problem is hard enough, without having to deal with the shame and isolation that often comes with it. Having conversations about mental health helps break down stereotypes, improve relationships, aid recovery and take the stigma out of something that affects us all.
With a membership of around 600, and multiple weekday club nights regularly attended by 50 or more, it is important that we are able to support your mental health and wellbeing. The Club has made a commitment, under the England Athletics #runandtalk programme, to actively promote mental health wellbeing and running, and to encourage and promote conversations about mental health. Our aim is for our Mental Health Champions to run and talk with you at each of our main weekday Club nights (Monday, Tuesday and Thursday).
There are lots of different ways to have a conversation about mental health. And you don’t have to be an expert to talk. Although not professionals, all of our Mental Health Champions have a lived experience of personal or family mental health problems, which may include anxiety, depression, alcohol abuse and eating disorders. We are here to listen, support and signpost you to other help.
Our Mental Health Role
Our Mental Health Champions aim to:
- Start conversations about mental health, sharing experiences and removing stigma
- Encourage and promote conversations about mental health
- Support campaigns and other Club activities related to mental health
- Support Club members and new people experiencing mental health problems to start running, get back into running, or continue running
- Provide crisis contacts for members of the Club experiencing mental health problems
Who We Are
Look out for our Mental Health Champions at Club nights in our special black and orange t-shirts or winter hi-viz gilets.
The Club aims to create an environment where you feel safe and are able to participate in Club events without being subject to any form of harassment, bullying, verbal or physical abuse or excessive pressure.
Welfare covers a wide range of issues such as safeguarding and protecting children, anti-bullying, equality, poor practice in coaching and disciplinary and grievance matters.
It is everyone’s responsibility to ensure the safety and enjoyment of all those who participate in Club events.
Procedures for dealing with welfare issues or grievances are provided in the Club Constitution.
Our Welfare Role
Our Welfare Officers are here to:
- Assist the Club to fulfil its responsibilities to safeguard vulnerable adults at Club level.
- Assist the Club to write and implement its safeguarding vulnerable adults plan at Club level
- Be the first point of contact for everyone where concerns about a vulnerable adult’s welfare, poor practice or abuse are identified
- Devise, implement and keep updated the Club’s reporting and recording procedures
- Promote the Club’s best practice guidance/code of conducts within the Club.
- Represent welfare on the Club’s management committee
- Ensure adherence to the Club’s safeguarding training
- Ensure appropriate confidentiality is maintained
- Promote anti-discriminatory practice
Who We Are
Look out for our Welfare officers at Club nights and events.
We all want to be safe when we are out running, whatever the time of day or weather. While the Club can advise you on running safety, you must take personal responsibility for your own safety, whilst keeping a watchful eye on others running in the same group, particularly new members. Please give consideration to others, and use your common sense in making a run safe for everyone else as well as yourself.
Be aware of the advice available through running magazines and other sources on the risks associated with running. We want you to enjoy your running, but be mindful of the strains and injuries that can result from the sport. Please consult professional experts and practitioners outside the running Club as appropriate.
Health and Safety Policy and Risk Assessment
Details of the Club Health and Safety Policy commitments, objectives and your role in co-operating with the policies are available on the website.
Here are some basic tips for running safely. While they may be obvious, they are there to make sure that your running is, as far as possible, a safe activity.
- Headphones: Avoid wearing headphones when running alone and/or in the dark, and make sure you are aware of the traffic around you at all times (headphones are not permitted on club runs)
- Tell People: Share with people the route you have planned and how long you expect to be out
- A Well Lit Route: Plan a route that is well lit especially if running alone, and be aware of uneven pavement or tree roots etc.
- Emergency Contact Cards: Always carry your BPJ Emergency ID Card (or a parkrun wristband) so that in the unlikely event you need medical assistance you can get it promptly
- If You Are Unwell or Injured: Don’t run if you feel poorly – especially if you have cold/flu symptoms below the neck or any other medical concerns. Wait until you feel better. Listen to your body; it is usually right.
- Safety in Groups: Let your group leader know if you have any injuries or if you are stepping up a group, so they can keep an extra eye on you. Always remember to muster so that everyone is part of the group and no one is left behind. Shout out any hazards, and cross roads etc. together.
- Technology: There are loads of things out there to help with safety which may be worth considering if you feel the cost is appropriate for you: Beacon on Strava, ‘run angel’ (runangel.com) etc.
- Run Together! The best thing about the Club is always having someone to run with – group runs are a great way to try new routes safely even when it is dark
- Advertised Times for Long Runs: Sunday Runs begin at 8:15 and 9:00 and are a great way to run with a group during Marathon training. If you plan to run the route at any other time you do so at your own risk – make sure you’ve told someone where you are going and when.
- Sunday Long Runs: Make every effort to run with others. While these are Club runs, the structure is different to our normal weekday night runs as there are no leaders or organised pace groups. As with all of your runs, ensure you have your Emergency ID Card with you. This is especially important as runners can be spread out due to the long distances covered. See also below regarding ‘Running in Organised Club Groups’.
During Dark Night Runs (Winter)
- Head Torches and Lights: Be bright! Make sure you have a head torch or a chest light, and make sure it is charged before you run out through the door
- Reflective Clothing: Wear reflective and high visibility clothing, and layer up if it is cold. You may be asked to leave the group if you do not have any hi-viz.
During Light Night Runs (Summer)
- High Visibility: Although we run in the daylight between April and September, it is still advisable to wear something light-coloured or bright when running. Also, this is England; it can still be chilly and wet, so make sure you are wearing the correct clothing for the conditions.
Running in Organised Club Groups
- Always listen to any instructions from the group leader – the leader has responsibility for your safety and keeping you together during the run
- If you are struggling with the pace let the leader know (we all have the occasional bad day when running!)
- If you want to run on ahead at a slightly faster pace, check with the leader that it is OK and remember to muster back. That means returning to the back of the group, not just waiting at the next junction for the group to catch up.
- if you don’t want to complete the run with the group for any reason, you must inform the leader that you are leaving the group. Our leaders have a responsibility for your safety at all times, and you a have a responsibility to the leader to confirm that you are safe to leave the group on your own.
- During the summer, there will be a number of groups that will be running off-road or out into the countryside, e.g. The Mug Run. If you do run off-road, take extra care due to the increased risk of tripping or turning an ankle for example. Surfaces are uneven and may be even more potholed than you will find on the road! So make sure you have the correct type of trainers for the conditions.
- On country lanes take care to ensure that you are as visible as possible to oncoming traffic. Run on the right-hand side of the road where there are no pavements, unless it is a tight bend or high hedges, in which case you should cross the road for safety in time to see ahead round the bend.
- Stay on the pavement where there is one, as opposed to running in the road.
Mental Health and Wellbeing Help and Support
We are here to run and talk with you. We are also here to signpost you to other professional organisations and resources. For help and support, please visit our dedicated Mental Health & Wellbeing Help & Support page.
If you need to contact us regarding your Mental Health, Welfare or Safety, you can use the following channels:
Our Mental Health & Wellbeing Facebook page will be updated on wellbeing, mental health problems, welfare and safety. Please like and follow us to read more about mental health support and learn more about maintaining your own wellbeing.
#runandtalk #runsafe #runsmart