Three million Australians are living with depression or anxiety. Mental Health Week runs from Sunday 4 to Saturday 10 October and Active Moreland would like to highlight some programs available in the Moreland community that assist in addressing mental health issues.
It is well known that keeping active can help lift your mood, improve your sleeping patterns, increase energy levels, block negative thoughts and help you feel less alone if you exercise with others.
Merri Community Health Services (MCHS) is a Moreland community organisation that assists people with a range of health and wellbeing issues, including mental health.
For several years now MCHS have run an exercise group with accredited Active Moreland trainers once a week at Brunswick Baths called CRISPfit specifically for people with mental health issues. CRISPfit helps participants reconnect to the community and improve their health and physical fitness, which can contribute to an overall improvement in their mental health.
‘When Active Moreland offered us the opportunity to partner with them and to have the CRISPfit program run in an actual gym it was very exciting’ said Kate Verghese, community mental health worker at MCHS.
‘The beauty of this program is that people can come in and work out at a gym which is like any other’ Kate said about the program which is free of charge to the participants. ‘Whether they’ve got a mental illness or not, they’re considered just a client or customer when they come in the door.’
Kate says that the benefits of the program for the participants are enormous, from changes in sleep patterns, to improvements in body image and a reconnection with the community.
One of the CRISPfit participants, Paul, had been attending for just a few weeks when Active Moreland spoke to him. Paul said this program was the first time in several years he had interacted with other people other than his family.
Tina has been attending for a few months and finds the class gives her the focus and motivation to get fit. She finds she is able to talk to others in similar situations so is comfortable there will be no judgement.
Van has been attending for two years and loved being in a group environment where she felt safe.
Single mum Jenny started attending the classes because she knew from experience that keeping active had helped her mental health. ‘CRISfit has been my saviour’ she said. ‘I’d highly recommend it; it’s hard, but it pays off and you feel great. I find that I can manage things a bit better and it helps you regulate your headspace’.
‘And the punching bags are pretty good for releasing your stress!’ Jenny laughed.
Daniel had been attending for nearly three months when he spoke to Active Moreland. ‘I’ve really enjoyed every session so far’ he said. ‘The trainers know what they’re doing, they’re really good and they’re really friendly as well!’
Once they’ve shown a commitment to the program, participants also have the opportunity to get individual gym memberships with Active Moreland thanks to the Open Doors charity.
The CRISPfit group runs on Thursdays at Brunswick Baths while other clients with mental health issues from the Coburg area also attend the Heartmoves program at Coburg Leisure Centre on Mondays at 3 pm. If you feel these classes will be of benefit to you or someone you know contact Kate Verghese at Merri Community Health on 9355 9919 or visit Merri Community Health.
If you need to talk to someone, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636.