UK mental health patients to see their fitness boosted by Australian programme

  • Developed by surfers at Bondi Beach in Australia, a new ‘lifestyle medicine programme' will be used by the NHS to improve the physical health of people with mental health illnesses. /images/mentalhealth.jpg

    For five years health workers in the Bondi Beach suburb of Sydney who were treating young people experiencing their first episode of serious mental illness began to raise concerns about their patients' rapid weight gain.

    Professor Katherine Samaras, a diabetes and obesity specialist at the University of New South Wales, and one of the architects of the Bondi programme, told the Guardian that despite international expectations of a sunny climate and beach culture Bondi, Sydney (and Australia in general), shares first-world problems of inactivity and overeating calorie-rich foods. Antipsychotic medications also increase feelings of hunger and encourage inactivity, she says, thereby creating a potentially lethal mix.

    This resulted in the ‘Keeping the Body in Mind' project. A multidisciplinary programme which provided patients with vital life skills on what to eat, where to buy produce, how to cook it and how to exercise. Then, each patient gets twelve weekly individual sessions with a dietician and exercise physiologist, weekly group education sessions and access to a gym.

    The "show how to cook/exercise/eat/shop" part of the programme was so popular, it was integrated with seeing the psychiatrist and mental health workers, which boosted attendance and engagement, says Samaras. "We have compiled a cookbook of recipes, to which the young people contributed to as well, with their favourite recipes."

    "Our programme was relatively cheap and of course this early investment in health offsets the cost of treating heart disease and diabetes," says Samaras.

    Some 60 young people aged 15-25 come through the Bondi model. It now forms part of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) guidelines on the care of young people with serious mental illness. And it is being piloted by the NHS in Worcester under the guise of Shape - the Supporting Health and Promoting Exercise - programme for young people with psychosis with a view to it being rolled out across the NHS, reports the Guardian.

    What do you think of this? Tweet us your comments @suppsolutions

Related articles

  • Read More

    People in Bedfordshire can find mental health support through an audio guide

    The guides have been written by clinical psychologists and are available to download in print or listen to as an audio file, reports Bedfordshire News.Dr Judy Baxter, Clinical Director with BCCG and...

  • Read More

    Police officers in Dorset to receive mental health training

    The partnership with the University comes as part of the county’s Mental Health Street Triage Project. It is hoped to equip officers with improved knowledge and skills to assess members of the...

  • Read More

    People in Peterborough can refer themselves for mental health services

    Through a drive to offer support to more people and ease pressure on doctors, people living in Peterborough can self-refer themselves to mental health services, reports Peterborough Today.Dr Adrian...

  • Read More

    The first mental health centre for men

    The site has been set up by Alex Eaton, whose dad took his own life and has suffered with mental health problems himself, in Burton upon Trent, reports BBC Newsbeat.Mr Eaton said: "We are the only...

  • Read More

    NHS trust told no mental health beds available

    Dr Bohdan Solomka has said that on Sunday a lack of beds were applied across the NHS and among private providers, reports the BBC. The director of the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trusts...

  • Read More

    Over 16,000 mental health referrals for young people have been rejected

    Between July last year and June this year, data from the NHS has found that Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services rejected 5,396 referrals, reports STV News.Over the last three years 16,565...

  • Read More

    New mental health centre to open in Ardwick

    Plans to build a new £6m treatment and recovery centre in Manchester have been revealed. It will be built in Ardwick and be run by Alternative Futures Group, reports the Manchester Evening...

  • Read More

    Research finds more chance of re-offending if mental health issues are present

    Research has found that ex-prisoners with mental health problems and drug and alcohol misuse are more likely to commit violent offences after release than other former prisoners, reports the...

  • Read More

    Drop in the number of people with mental health issues held in cells

    Recent figures have found that the Crisis Care Concordat has seen over 10,000 people receive care from mental health nurses with the support from police officers, reports the Burton Mail.Figures have...

  • Read More

    Mental health social work scheme accepting applications

    100 places are now available for applicants who have a 2:1 or above undergraduate degree and can demonstrate attributes such as resilience and empathy, reports Community Care.The Think Ahead...

Briefing Signup