SAMH Official Charity Partner

SAMH announced as official charity partner of World Athletics Indoor Championships Glasgow 24

Scotland’s national mental health charity, SAMH (Scottish Action for Mental Health), has today been announced as the official charity partner of the World Athletics Indoor Championships Glasgow 24.

Taking place from 1-3 March this year, the World Athletics Indoor Championships will come to Scotland for the first time, marking the third occasion the event has been held in the UK with Birmingham staging the Championships in both 2003 and 2018.

Over 700 athletes are expected to compete in the city over three days of competition and the event will be one of the highest profile sporting events in Scotland in 2024 with thousands of spectators expected to attend.

With the event now under one month away, organisers are delighted to be able to welcome SAMH as the official charity partner of the Championships in an agreement that is the first of its kind for an event of this size in Scotland. 

SAMH, which operates over 70 services in communities across Scotland, has championed the positive relationship between good physical and mental health since launching its first national physical activity and sport programme in 2010. 

As a partner of the World Athletics Indoor Championships, the charity has developed tailored resources and provided all event staff and volunteers with mental health and wellbeing training to help them deliver a mentally healthy event for themselves, athletes, officials and spectators.

Organisers are now delighted to increase the scale of this partnership by committing to embedding mental health awareness across the event, with organisers signing Scotland’s Mental Health Charter for Physical Activity and Sport. The charter uses the power of sport to reduce barriers to engaging, participating and achieving in physical activity and sport.

This will be the first time the charter has been signed by a World Athletics Championships and will mark a significant milestone in sport’s recognition and involvement in mental health. It is hoped that staff and volunteers can take their new skills and knowledge gained through SAMH training into future events and back to their clubs and communities, creating a legacy of improved mental health support for sport in Scotland.

Billy Watson, Chief Executive of SAMH, said:

“We are delighted that the World Athletics Indoor Championships has become the first major event to sign Scotland’s Mental Health Charter for Physical Activity and Sport, which seeks to improve equality and end discrimination in sport for anyone with a mental health problem.  

“Good physical health supports good mental health, from lifting our mood and reducing stress to helping us achieve personal goals and meet new people. We don’t need to be a professional athlete to feel these benefits – even short spells of gentle activity worked into our regular routine can make a huge difference. 

“Partnering with the World Athletics Indoor Championships means we can support everyone to enjoy a mentally healthy event, but we are certain the positive impact will extend beyond that. SAMH-trained volunteers will be able to take their new skills to future events and their communities as mental health champions, and we hope many of us watching the event across Scotland will be inspired to get active and feel the benefits of exercise to support our mental, social and physical health.”

Billy Garrett, Director of Tourism, Culture and Events at Glasgow Life and joint Chair of the Local Organising Committee said:

“While we’re all excited to see the action on the track, it’s equally important to me that we ensure medals aren’t the only legacy of the event after the final athlete crosses the finishing line.

“With victory so important in elite sport, success is regularly the only thing that matters at an event of this size, however, with SAMH’s help, we hope we can shift that thinking to a more mindful approach and the signing of Scotland’s Mental Health Charter for Physical Activity and Sport marks a big step in the right direction to opening a wider discussion over mental health in sport.

“It’s been our mission since day one to ensure that we have a positive social impact in Glasgow and across Scotland and I believe this initiative will go a long way to achieving this. I look forward to seeing our partnership with SAMH blossom further as we move closer to the event, and I can’t wait to work with the team to create real meaningful change within this major sporting arena.”

Aderonke Popoola, Volunteer Ambassador, said:

“The training was really useful and insightful. It’s something I can pass onto others, especially with my career in events. I work with teams and to make a team function really well, everyone has to be on their A game. If one person is down, the whole team is going to feel down.

“When I successfully let them know the importance of mental health, that’s when all our goals and objectives, everything we want to achieve, will come out better.”

Paul Webster, Volunteer Ambassador, said:

“I really enjoyed the training. The main thing I used it for was to tell people I’m not in a good headspace. That doesn’t always go down that well, some of my pals and others don’t do too well with it. But after you say it a few times people do start to take it on board, and they come back to you to check in how you are.

“I had SAD (seasonal affective disorder) long before it was a common thing to talk about. That’s the main reason I volunteer, to keep myself stable. Going out there meeting different people and being stimulated is quite anchoring. It’s a dual benefit having SAMH supporting the championships.

“Some people with disabilities might stay home, live in their own disability bubble which is a shame. Volunteering really helps with getting out there and I want to encourage more people to do it.”