Sport for a Positive Outlook
East Ayrshire Leisure, in partnership with NHS Ayrshire & Arran and the New Farm Community Sports Hub, has been running badminton sessions to provide participants experiencing mental health conditions, with regular social exercise and interaction in a supported environment. The sessions help those taking part to build confidence and provide a positive impact on their quality of life and mental well-being.
The sessions are led by volunteers committed to supporting opportunities in which mental health conditions do not pose a barrier to getting on court with like-minded people.
Badminton was selected as the sporting mechanism to help combat mental health as it is a sport many people can relate to, having been a priority sport within the school curriculum for many years. It also promotes physical fitness, helps to reduce stress and anxiety, increases endorphins and has also been found to improve mood and sleep.
Badminton is also likely to put you in a good mood because it’s a social activity; participants need at least one opponent or can play with a team-mate in a doubles match against another pair. The social interactions of the game combined with feel-good endorphins result in positive feelings that last after a session on the court. The participants feel part of a community and can join one of the competitive recreation groups through the Community Sports Hub partnership if they wish.
Tracy Holmes, NHS Ayrshire & Arran, said “Feedback from clients I have referred has been positive. Everyone says they like the comfortable and welcoming environment and friendly facilitators. They also report that participating in the group helps lift their mood”.
All participants taking part in the badminton have joined the sessions through a referral process from NHS Ayrshire & Arran.