Improving mental health and wellbeing through swimming, cycling and running

What has Tuff Fitty got to do with mental health?

We all know that training for and competing in triathlons keep us physically fit, but being part of Tuff Fitty can also play a massive role in improving our mental health and wellbeing.

On 21 February 2019 Tuff Fitty became one of the first triathlon clubs to formally recognise the benefits that swimming, cycling and running can play in improving good mental health by signing up to the Mental Health Charter for Sports and Recreation.

What are we trying to achieve?

Under the #not2TUFF2talk banner, we have set ourselves five objectives:

  • to raise awareness and understanding of mental health and wellbeing.
  • to promote good mental health and wellbeing through swimming, cycling and running and being part of a welcoming, inclusive and positive community
  • to make Tuff Fitty a safe place for our members to talk about their mental health and wellbeing
  • to support our members to seek help when needed
  • to provide leadership on mental health and wellbeing across the triathlon and sports community in West Sussex and beyond.

What are we doing?

During 2019 we have been working with Coastal West Sussex MIND to achieve these objectives. Our activities include:

  • finding out more about what our members think via an anonymous survey. We had a great response with more than a third of the club responding. If you want to find out more, please see survey results.
  • regular updates in the club newsletter, the website and social media
  • publishing some insightful personal stories of some of members’ mental health journeys
  • raising awareness of mental health issues and collecting donations for Coastal West Sussex Mind at:
    • the Frosty aquathlon on 3rd March
    • Row, row, row and run a bit – held jointly with Worthing Rowing Club on 21 July. The clue as to what we did here is in the title.
    • Ride Kona on 12 October in which members (virtually) rode alongside the Ironman World Championship competitors in the Littlehampton spinning room

How can I help?

We are just at the beginning of our mental health journey and there will be lots of opportunities to contribute or have ideas for future activities, please get in touch with us by email on not2tuff2talk@gmail.com or contact one of the #not2TUFF2talk team direct.

I need support for a mental health issue, is there someone who can help me?

We are committed to making Tuff Fitty a safe place for anyone to talk about their mental health issues and you will find many of our members are good listeners. But please remember that neither the club, nor the #not2TUFF2talk team are mental health professionals.

  • If you are experiencing a mental health problem we would encourage you to contact our partners Coastal West Sussex Mind on 01903 277000 or info@coastalwestsussexmind.org. They will put you in touch with the right support for you.
  • If you are caring for someone struggling with their mental health, you can also contact Carers Support West Sussex on 0300 028 8888 or info@carerssupport.org.uk.
  • If you are feeling suicidal or in crisis, the best thing is to talk. Speak to somebody you trust or contact a service which can offer you support. If you think that somebody that you know might be suicidal – ask them.
    • Sussex Mental Healthline0300 5000 101. Lines are open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm, and 24 hours at weekends and bank holidays. in East Sussex and Brighton and Hove. In West Sussex lines are available 24 hours, seven days a week.
    • The Samaritans: 116 123 offer 24-hour confidential emotional support for anyone in a crisis. This number is free from both landlines and mobiles. Or click here for the Samaritans website
    • You can contact your GP or call the NHS 111 number to access specialist mental health telephone or face-to-face support.
    • If you are known to mental health services and need urgent mental health support, you can contact your care co-ordinator. 
    • Accident & Emergency departments are a place you can go if you are in crisis.
    • The National Mind Booklets How to Cope with Suicidal Feelings and Suicide – Supporting Someone Else both have lots of helpful information.

Where can I for more information?

If you want to find out more (whether you are a member or just interested in what we are doing) we would love to hear from you. Please talk to one of the #not2TUFF2talk team or email us at not2tuff2talk@gmail.com.

There are also some brilliant resources online about sport, physical activity and mental health. Here are two links to get you started:

#not2TUFF2talk team

  • Graham Liddell
  • Tiff Orton
  • Andy Ward
  • David March

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