'Movement is the mainspring for children's mental health' says new Parliamentary report co-sponsored by the University of Winchester

28 Oct 2019
Dr Martin Yelling and Stormbreak teachers posing together outside

A new All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) report, co-sponsored by the Universities of Winchester and Bournemouth, and launched today (Monday 28 October 2019) celebrates the role of movement in supporting children's mental health.

The 'Mental Health through Movement' report cites an 'all pervasive' digital culture for instilling a compulsion in children to stay indoors and stay still, alongside draconian reductions in opportunities for outdoor play. Children are 'pushed indoors' by screens and 'pushed away' from outdoor play but there are schemes - such as the ones cited in the report - that offer a way forward.

Dr Vicky Randall, Senior Fellow in the University of Winchester's Institute for Education, and Professor Mike Silk, Bournemouth University, said: "Through this report, we celebrate the many fantastic ways that movement in all its many forms is being realised. The relationship between movement and positive mental health is absolutely crucial, but often ignored.

"As the many examples of excellent practice show, movement can be a simple, inclusive yet powerful medium for young people to learn how to thrive in this modern world. We hope that our report encourages more people to celebrate just how wonderful movement can be in forming positive relationships, growing confidence, strengthening resilience and nurturing optimism in young people."

The APPG on A Fit and Healthy Childhood welcomed the 'Mental Health through Movement' report.

APPG Chair, Steve McCabe MP said: "Nobody nowadays will deny that a crisis in children's mental health exists. We're saying that getting children moving is an obvious part of the solution.

"Health education has been statutory since September 2019 and pupils should expect at least thirty active minutes per day. Professionals and parents need guidance, but unless some of the excellent examples that we list here are shared, most children won't derive the benefit. This is a responsibility of Government just as much as providing much-needed additional funding streams for children's mental health services."

APPG Lead Author Helen Clark added: "The examples that we are proud to showcase in this report are proof that simply throwing money at the problem won't do. Parents need help in learning how to dissuade their children from excessive screen use and to promote positive movement and activity."

The launch of this report comes one year after the University of Winchester began its long-term commitment to and collaboration with the Stormbreak charity. The charity is a cross sector partnership of experts in education, health and academia that aims to improve children's mental health through movement by equipping young people with sustainable, transferable skills and coping strategies to thrive during the complex demands of growth into adult life.

The University of Winchester will be working with Stormbreak this year to part fund the delivery of mentally healthy movement in five partnership primary schools across Hampshire.

For more information about Stormbreak, visit www.stormbreak.org.uk.

To access the APPG 'Mental Health through Movement' report, please click here

Photo above shows Dr Martin Yelling, Stormbreak founder, with Stormbreak teachers.

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