Mental Health Awareness Week 2005

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We launched a year-long campaign to raise awareness about the effectiveness of exercise in preventing and treating mild to moderate mental health problems including depression and anxiety.

At the start of Mental Health Awareness Week 2005, we launched a year-long campaign calling for patients with depression to be offered exercise on prescription.

Substantial evidence shows that exercise therapy can be an effective treatment for depression. Advice from the Chief Medical Officer and clinical guidelines say that exercise therapy should be offered to patients with depression. Exercise referral schemes exist across the UK, but the Foundation's research shows that very few doctors are offering referrals to their patients with depression.

The campaign aimed to

  • increase the use of exercise referral schemes in treating mild to moderate depression
  • raise awareness about the fact that physical exercise is one of the most effective ways to look after and improve your mental health
  • raise awareness about the importance of finding and using effective ways of treating depression

We targeted our message at GPs and patients who may be looking for help with depression. We also raised awareness among the general population that exercise is good for your mental health.

Coverage

The campaign featured in more than 100 magazines and newspapers, including the Daily Telegraph, Guardian, Times, Daily Mail and Observer, BBC TV, ITV, Sky and Channel 5, as well as all national BBC radio stations.

More than 120,000 copies of our leaflets for patients and GPs about exercise on prescription were sent out across the UK.

Celebrity Supporters of our campaign

A number of celebrities supported our campaign, including former Coronation Street actress Denise Welch and television presenter Trisha Goddard.