At a time when there has been increased awareness about Mental Health with “R U OK Day” (08/09), “World Suicide Prevention Day” (10/09) and “World Mental Health Day” (10/10), we thought it would be important to share some insights into what these days are all about (and why increased awareness is very important) and how exercise can affect mental health.
Exercise has repeatedly been shown in the literature to have very little contraindications, be cost effective in the long term and perhaps most importantly, be very effective in treating this population. Not only does exercise seem to treat mental health symptoms and conditions such as depression, but also treats and prevents physical concerns which are often over presented in those with mental health conditions including obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Why would exercise be effective in treating mental health conditions?
- Distraction- some studies have shown that serious mental health symptoms such as hallucinations are reduced merely because of the distraction of exercise
- Social interaction- often by providing a means to social interaction, quality of life is increased
- General “physiological” exercise benefit- improves mood, alertness and sleep patterns in this population
- Empowerment- exercise is goal directed and purposeful and often increases one’s level of self control and esteem
While exercise has been shown to be effective in treating and managing mental health conditions and symptoms, it should be remembered that medical and psychological interventions should not be replaced rather, in most cases exercise should be used in conjunction with these treatments as much as possible in order to have potentially more effective outcomes for the patient.
R U OK Day took place on the 08/09 and the groups aim is “Our mission is to inspire and empower everyone to meaningfully connect with people around them and support anyone struggling with life.”
The day is aimed to not only bring awareness to mental health prevalence but also to break down barriers and begin discussions that may change somebody’s life. They also place emphasis on carrying this on for more than just one day- see the “365 Day Resources” page for more information: https://www.ruok.org.au/365-day-resources
World Suicide Prevention Day took place on the 10/09 and the groups
aim is “SPA’s mission is to deliver leadership for the meaningful reduction of suicide in Australia”
Some startling facts surrounding this are published on the groups page and include:
Facts about suicide in Australia
Suicide is the leading cause of death for men and women between the ages of 15-44
The population death rates are around 10/100,000 people every year
For more information about how you can get involved or get help for yourself or a loved one, please see: http://wspd.org.au/
World Mental Health day is held on the 10/10 and is a day for education, awareness and advocacy. The page writes that this year the three prim
ary objectives in Australia are:
- Encourage help seeking behaviour
- Reduce the stigma associated with mental illness
- Foster connectivity throughout communities
All three of these objectives, we can make a difference to and assist with.
For more information, please see: https://1010.org.au/