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Getting up and running

Young Londoners are enhancing their mental and physical health, while informing research on healthcare inequalities

Local communities in south-east London are working with researchers at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) to share their health and healthcare experiences through physical activities, school partnerships and creative experiences.

One project, UP&RUNNING, sees young Londoners join sports and exercise sessions to enhance their mental health and wellbeing, while providing new insights to help transform local healthcare provision.

Targeted at 16- to 35-year-olds not in employment, education or training, the programme is designed to aid the recovery of young people experiencing early signs of poor mental and physical health. It also provides them with tools to self-manage their health conditions.

UP&RUNNING introduces the young participants to new physical activities through free training and taster sessions, including boxing, running, football, yoga and mindfulness-based relaxation.

The IoPPN team drew on research evidence on the physical and mental health benefits of exercise to develop and deliver the programme. By recording the experiences of participants, King’s researchers use these insights to develop enhanced health and wellbeing programmes that more effectively meet the needs of local communities.

The UP&RUNNING initiative was developed by IoPPN academics who lead the Health Inequalities Research Network (HERON). The network provides a forum for local people to co-design research projects, share their experiences of health and healthcare inequalities and explore ways to address them through creative and physical activities.

Alongside tailored physical fitness sessions, UP&RUNNING researchers work in south London schools to explore their research findings with Year 12 pupils. The team invites them to discuss health inequality issues and develop research proposals on the mental or physical health challenges they’re experiencing

We strive to engage our local communities and co-create research projects in partnership, providing unique platforms for dialogue that offer local people tangible benefits in return.– Dr Charlotte Woodhead, Research Fellow, Department of Psychological Medicine at IoPPN


Supported by Maudsley Charity, NIHR Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) and Wellcome | Action Youth Boxing Intervention | FOCUS CIC

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