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The physiotherapy and exercise team at a Gloucester hospital have organised a Walkathon to encourage both patients and staff to be more active.

The staff at Wotton Lawn, which is an 88 bed acute Mental Health Hospital run by the ²gether NHS Foundation Trust, have organised the event as part of Mental Health Awareness Week.

The week-long awareness raising event started yesterday, and the theme for the week is ‘physical activity’, with the aim of highlighting the significant part physical activity plays in improving mental health and wellbeing.

Sophie Lucas, Health and Exercise Practitioner with ²gether, said: “We carry out a range of activities to encourage our service users and staff to be more physically active, as we recognise the enormous impact physical activity has on mental health and wellbeing.

“This week gives us an extra opportunity to focus on this, and the Walkathon is a fun activity everyone can get involved in, but with a serious message behind it.

“Each ward has been given a record sheet and set of rules for the walks, and each ward will document how many miles they walk up until May 20, when the results will be collated. The winners will be the ward with the most miles recorded, and we’re looking forward to finding out who has put the most miles in.”

There are four admission wards at Wotton Lawn, Abbey Ward, Dean Ward, Kingsholm Ward and Priory Ward.

Wotton Lawn also has a ten bed Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit – Greyfriars – as well as the Montpellier Secure Recovery Unit, which is a rehabilitation facility for men with a primary diagnosis of serious mental illness.

Service Users at Wotton Lawn are supported by a range of professionals, including nurses, doctors, psychologists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and health and exercise practitioners.

Mental Health Awareness Week is held annually, and organised by the Mental Health Foundation.

To find out more about what ²gether is doing for the week, visit www.²gether.nhs.uk.