Hans Cook has Sport in Mind

Hans has Sport in Mind

A personal story on the benefits of physical activity for mental health & wellbeing
Sport in Mind is an award-winning mental health charity (unaffiliated to Mind and not part of the local Mind network) that was formed in Reading, Berkshire in 2010 with a simple mission:

"To improve the lives of people experiencing mental health problems through sport and physical activity"

They've seen first-hand the positive impact physical activity can have on people's mental health having supported the recovery of thousands of people each year (sporty people and people who say they've never previously liked sport).

They believe there's a sport or physical activity out there for everyone and Sport in Mind's aim is to ensure every single person in the country has the opportunity to improve their mental health through a physical activity session they enjoy.

Hans’s story

From as early as he can remember, Hans has been passionate about sport, in particular football. 

He has always enjoyed playing and watching sport not only for the physical exercise but for the competitive energy it gives him. In addition, he also finds that sport helps him switch off from the stresses and strains of life, even watching he feels, can take his mind away from any concerns or worries he may have, helping him to relax.

Mental Health and wellbeing weren’t something Hans had previously been very aware of or educated in until he had his own experience of it. At the age of 22, whilst studying for a PhD, Hans suffered from severe burnout. He was subsequently diagnosed with anxiety and depression and withdrew from the course to protect his mental health.

He is now much more aware and accepting of his own mental health, something which he lives with and manages everyday through a good self-care routine, talking therapy and spending time dedicated to things he loves, such as football and good coffee among other things.

Hans acknowledges that being physically active has a significant positive impact on his mental health and notes that often, when he is struggling or going through a particularly low or anxious period, he can look back and identify when regular exercise has been missing from his self-care routine. 

Hans said; “One of the challenges that I struggle with because of my depression is that I can feel a total lack of motivation or appetite for life. It is easy on these days to stay in bed or inside and just want to sleep. 

“I try to remember the positive feeling exercise brings in the moments when I am struggling as often when being active feels the most challenging, that is when it will be the most helpful!”

Sport in Mind are the UK’s leading mental health sports charity and deliver physical activity (sport, walking, dance and movement, gardening, and exercise sessions) projects in partnership with the amazing NHS in order to aid recovery, promote mental wellbeing, improve physical health, combat social isolation and empower people to move their lives forward in a positive direction.

If you’d like to find out more about the sessions, activities and support available through Sport in Mind, please visit their website

Additionally, if you have been to a Sport in Mind session or have your own story of how physical activity has helped support and improve your mental health & wellbeing and would like to share it to benefit others, please get in touch with us

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