Monthly Mental Health Swims are now available at Jesus Green Lido in Cambridge. Led by trained volunteers, the swims are designed to be inclusive, safe and welcoming with the emphasis on dips rather than distance and companionship not competition. The next Mental Health Swim at Jesus Green is on Thursday 7 September at 5pm.
Mental Health Swims is an award-winning mental health peer support community which hosts more than 150 safe and inclusive swim meet ups across the UK.
The Jesus Green Lido Mental Health Swims are led by swimming and parkrun enthusiast Suzy Ashworth and David Lynch, a mindfulness coach and wellbeing trainer.
“I saw an advert for volunteers for this relatively new charity hosting open swims for people experiencing mental health vulnerabilities. After initial screening, I was invited to follow online mental health training for sports coaches,” explains David.
“The swims are about giving people time to adjust to the challenge of getting into cold water, to manage difficult feelings and thoughts, to encourage safe and gentle swimming, minimising risks and reassuring swimmers that they were in control and have the choice to leave the water at any point.”
The first Mental Health Swim at Jesus Green Lido was a great success. Suzy stayed with those who were unsure about getting into the water and, after chatting on the edge of the pool, everyone ventured in and got wet.
David swum with others in the shallow end before building up to swimming to the first steps and back. After a short rest, they ventured to the second steps and back. Finally, they set off for the far end of the pool. “A front crawl swimmer went first and I kept pace with the slowest swimmer,” he says.
“By the time we reached the far end, the group were chatting with the excitement of their accomplishment, exclaiming how a length never seemed to end. We finished with a cup of tea and a sharing of stories, glad that we’d shared the social delights of outdoor swimming in such a safe place.”
To book onto a Mental Health Swim use the Better app. You’ll find the Mental Health Swim under the Events icon.