ESSA May 2024 – Move it for Mental Health

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Move It For Mental Health - The Research

Mental health challenges among young people are on the rise, creating an urgent need for effective support mechanisms. The Move It for Mental Health program, led by a dedicated team; Felicity Austin, Dr Kemi Wright, Greta Edwards, Kayleen Russell, Meagan Davies, John Hilston, Ashley Almarjawi, A/Prof Bonnie Furzer, recognises the pivotal role of exercise in addressing these challenges. Despite many community-based exercise and sporting organisations, few are equipped to meet the unique needs of vulnerable youth, particularly those at risk of developing mental health disorders.

The program emphasises the critical nature of timely support. Delays in seeking help can significantly hinder a young person’s recovery process. Integrating exercise as a foundational support mechanism can facilitate access to additional health services through referrals, enhancing both mental and physical health.

Key to the success of Move It for Mental Health is the expertise of Accredited Exercise Physiologists (AEPs) and exercise professionals. Their ability to build therapeutic relationships helps establish trust and rapport, which are essential for effective mental health support. These professionals are instrumental in boosting mental and physical health literacy, improving social outcomes, and helping individuals manage and sustain their mental health.

Furthermore, educating and upskilling community service providers is crucial. Through comprehensive education initiatives, the program aims to bridge the gap in physical activity options. It includes inclusive, peer-supported sessions that empower individuals and strengthen community capacity, which has shown feasibility and success in stakeholder evaluations.

Funders like Telethon, The University of Western Australia, and Telethon Kids Institute support this valuable initiative.

The program exemplifies how structured, thoughtful exercise programs can serve as a gateway to broader mental health support, offering a promising avenue for enhancing the wellbeing of young individuals.

Thriving offers the following courses:

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