Skip Navigation
A woman wearing an orange sports top stretches her arms out in a physical activity class.
Get involved

News story

Edge Hill launches new research centre to help improve mental health

November 29, 2023

Edge Hill University has launched a new research centre to progress the use of sport and physical activity to improve mental health.

The Centre for Mental Health, Sport and Physical Activity Research (CMSPR) is the latest development in Edge Hill’s high-quality mental health research which has world-leading impact.

Informed by people with lived experience of mental health and illness, the work of CMSPR will:

  • shape the design, delivery and evaluation of mental health programmes;
  • work with local, national and international partners;
  • deliver knowledge exchange activities in sectors including education, public health, medicine, the creative industries, business and information technology.

Professor Andy Smith, director of the new research centre, is encouraging members of the public, students and partners to “come along on this journey with us” by helping to shape the Centre’s research priorities and take part in activities.

“We all understand now more than ever the importance of looking after our mental health and we are determined to contribute to this global challenge in a meaningful way.

“We’re keen to hear from anyone who wants to engage with us to improve mental health through our research and external activities, so they have a real positive and sustainable impact on people’s lives and policy-making.”

Professor Andy Smith, Director of the Centre for Mental Health, Sport and Physical Activity Research

Edge Hill launched the CMSPR with the support of high-profile partners Mind, Movember, Rugby League Cares, Together an Active Future, Creative Football and academic partner Everton in the Community, the official charity of Everton Football Club.

Hayley Jarvis, head of physical activity for Mind mental health charity, commended the Centre for appreciating the value of “experts by experience”.

“Our vision is for sport and physical activity to help build resilience, enable mental health recovery and tackle stigma so we are thrilled to be part of Edge Hill’s new research centre. It provides an anchor point for all of us working in this space, to digest the research and develop effective activities, communications and resources.

“We already have ideas for joint events and activities, and hope to bring those ideas to fruition for the benefit of those who need it most. We’ve come a long way in the journey to embed good mental health in the sport world and I believe the launch of the Centre is the next exciting step.”

Hayley Jarvis, Mind’s head of physical activity

As a cross-institutional Centre, the CMSPR brings together academic researchers, industry professionals, organisations, policy makers and members of the public to improve mental health and wellbeing in the community and at a professional level.

Professor Smith said: “We believe the Centre, which builds on more than 10 years of interdisciplinary research at Edge Hill, will bring about real change in how we can improve mental health through sport, physical activity and other activities.

“The focus is about how we can all work together to improve mental health, locally, nationally and internationally.”

Professor George Talbot, Pro-Vice Chancellor with responsibility for research, added:

“Our team of internationally-respected researchers are drawing on their broad range of expertise and the University’s long history of working with local, national and international bodies to improve provision in practical ways, for example by providing professional development and training for those working in mental health.”

Long-term partner Michael Salla, Deputy CEO at Everton in the Community, said:

“We’re delighted to build on our 11-year partnership with Edge Hill University by supporting the development of this new research centre.

“Collaboration with likeminded organisations is key in our mission to improve the mental health of our communities by further using sport, physical activity and movement in innovative ways.”

Edge Hill’s Department of Sport and Physical Activity provides a variety of undergraduate courses including sports science, management, coaching, education and therapy, endorsed by professional bodies like CIMSPA and BASES, and postgraduate opportunities such as the new MSc Sport, Physical Activity and Mental Health. Research areas include policy, performance, practice and health and wellbeing.

November 29, 2023


For media enquiries only, please contact the Press Office: