Sport and mental health: 'We must do more'

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SPORT and physical exercise must remain a key part of Islanders’ lifestyles and should be handed greater weight in post-coronavirus mental health discussions, according to a leading Jersey politician.

Free exercise classes were held by the likes of Club Soulgenic to mark World Mental Health Day in 2019. Senator Steve Pallett believes the government must build on such initiatives and provide greater support using sport as a therapy Picture: ROB CURRIE

Senator Steve Pallett, an Assistant Minister for Health with responsibility for sport, says careful consideration of people’s psychological wellbeing will be needed in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic – following lockdown measures that may well extend into May.

The government’s mental health services have been placed under increasing pressure as a result of the current crisis and Pallett admits future initiatives must tick more boxes.

‘Sport is an integral part of life and it plays a huge part in stopping people getting ill in the first place,’ he said.

‘In terms of mental health, it should be looked at as a therapy. For me it is – it keeps me balanced and if I don’t have it I’ve got to find other ways to take the stresses out of life.

‘But for a lot of people it’s a lot tougher than that and it’s important that we recognise that fact. We must put the right interventions in place.’

The States-backed Jersey Talking Therapies have halted their services due to staff redeployments, although the likes of the Listening Lounge, Mind Jersey and Liberate Jersey are still offering support via telephone and online.

Jason Fox

By Jason Fox

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