Beat the Street Sheffield recommended to city patients battling depression

Sheffield patients struggling with depression have been encouraged to take part in the Beat the Street game running in the city.

Thursday, 22nd July 2021, 12:00 am

Around 60,000 people have signed up to play the Beat the Street Sheffield game and have together walked, cycled, and rolled an incredible 363,000 miles so far in the competition.

Dr Andy Douglas, a Move More GP at Birley Health Centre GP, has already recommended Beat the Street to patients who have asked for help in dealing with depression.

He said: "My colleagues and I have been speaking to lots of patients who since the pandemic have experienced the effects of lockdown: isolation, inactivity, financial difficulties, and stress. These conditions have led to a huge surge in the number of people feeling down and depressed.

People taking part in Beat the Street

"In my experience I have found medication, such as anti-depressants, can be quite limited in what they can offer, especially under these conditions. One of the most effective ways people can improve their mental health is through becoming more physically active.

“However, it can be hard as a GP just to tell someone to exercise more. What can work better is if the patient has heard of an activity that is local to them, sounds achievable, and maybe quite good fun.

"That's where Beat the Street ticks a lot of boxes. I have had a lot of people respond positively to the idea.

"Especially when we explain that physical activity can be equally as effective as antidepressants at treating depression. I have heard from people playing Beat the Street that it has got them out the house, finding areas near them that had never explored before; often finding themselves chatting with new people over a Beat Box.”

Anyone of any age is invited to take part in Beat the Street and you can still get involved now by picking up a card from one of the distribution points on www.beatthestreet.me/sheffield. You can join an existing school, community group or workplace team or you can set up your own. Alternatively, you can join the charity team to help Sheffield Children’s Hospital benefit from a £500 donation.

Teams of all varieties including schools, community groups and workplaces have been battling it out for the past several weeks across the average and total points leaderboards to take home prizes of vouchers for books.

The city's health experts have been using the Beat the Street game to tour health centres, hospitals and community groups to spread the word about the importance of physical activity.

In Sheffield, the scheme is organised by Move More, Sheffield Council and local partners, delivered by Intelligent Health, with funding from the National Lottery and Sport England.

The game has been played in more than 104 locations across the UK and beyond – however as well as the huge number of people playing in Sheffield, the game has been embraced by primary care practitioners who have seen its potential as part of their social prescribing.

One key strength of Beat the Street is that it is free and accessible. In Sheffield, 37 per cent of the players who completed a pre-game health survey are from areas with the highest deprivation.

Dr Anna Lowe from Move More, who was key in commissioning the game for Sheffield, said work had been underway in Sheffield for 10 years to create links between health care and activity opportunities.

She added: “Beat the Street has provided a brilliant platform to showcase this ongoing work. “