National Access and inclusion Coordinator, Belgravia Leisure
Take Charge - evidence-based program supporting people living with mental illness through exercise
Nationally, mental illness (MI) is the main reason people visit a GP, and is most prevalent among youth and young adults. MI has a profound negative impact on physical and psychological health, detracts from opportunities for employment leading to financial hardship, and commonly culminates in social isolation, loneliness and poor social and community supports. Research has proven engagement in exercise ameliorates MI, while concurrently producing improvements in co-morbidities (i.e. lethargy, sleep disturbance, overweight etc.).
The Take Charge (TC) program is an individualised (not a one-size-fits-all model) evidence-based program with confirmed success through trials in leisure facilities involving over 500 participants. Outcomes confirmed positive psychological, physical and social outcomes for participants, and additionally participants achieved a sense of control and choice through experiences encountered during the program. Key to the success of TC is training designed to improve staff capacity to understand, support and provide service to people living with MH.