DSC_8553Labour MP Andy Burnham and comedian, broadcaster and writer Jake Mills were amongst a host of speakers at yesterday’s Understanding and Promoting Mental Health: The Role of Sport and Physical Activity conference at Edge Hill University.

The conference was being hosted by the University alongside Everton in the Community and Mersey Care NHS Trust to mark World Mental Health day which takes place today, Friday 10 October.

The conference promoted an understanding of mental health and wellbeing in local communities.

It also described how community sport and physical activity, delivered as part of broader health programmes, can contribute to the management and promotion of mental health. The implications of publically disclosed cases of mental illness amongst elite athletes and other high profile figures will also be explored.

The conference was the latest event in a ground-breaking collaboration between Edge Hill University and Everton in the Community, which seeks to benefit the local community through research-led projects and student academic placements.

The exclusive five-year partnership involves numerous student-led initiatives in the areas of public health and physical activity, sport policy and community sport development with the objective of overcoming a variety of social challenges facing those across Merseyside on a daily basis.

Andy Smith, Associate Head of Sport and Physical activity at Edge Hill said: “We are delighted to have received the support of Everton Manager, Roberto Martinez, Andy Burnham MP and Jake Mills for our conference which explores the links between sport, physical activity and mental health. The conference marks a real watershed in our partnership with Everton in the Community which goes from strength to strength as we seek to maximise the impact of our academic research on the mental health and wellbeing of the individuals and communities with whom we work. We are especially pleased that our students are not only able to work with Everton and other partners to enhance their academic development, but also their future employability, as they pursue unique opportunities to link theory to practice in real world settings.”