Title: Improving access to physical activity interventions for adults with mental health issues
Author(s): Justin Chapman1,2,3, Sarah Childs4, Greg Pratt1, Jane Kugelman3, Sue Patterson5, Stephen Tillston3
1QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Brisbane, Queensland
2Metro South Addiction and Mental Health Service, Brisbane, Queensland
3Queensland Police-Citizens Youth Welfare Association, Brisbane, Queensland
4Queensland Alliance for Mental Health, Brisbane, Queensland
5Metro North Mental Health Service, Brisbane, Queensland
Background: People with mental illnesses are at higher risk of developing preventable physical diseases than the general population. Physical activity (PA) has diverse benefits for physical and mental health; however, people with mental illness face numerous barriers to becoming physical active. Improving access to effective and evidence-based PA programs is an ongoing issue for communities and health services.
Methods: This presentation will describe the evolution of a 5-year body of work to develop, implement and evaluate an evidence-base, collaborative care model for provision of PA programs for people with mental illness. Two randomized controlled trials of different types of exercise interventions have been conducted, and findings translated into community implementation through diverse partnerships with public mental health services and non-government organisations in South East and North Queensland.
Results and findings: Over 500 participants have benefited from the programs over this time, demonstrating improved quality of life, recovery, sense of belonging and self-determined motivation, and reduced distress and depression. The mean rate of completion for these 8-week programs are 60%, and attendance is 58% of group sessions. Incorporating motivational coaching was more effective than only providing exercise instruction and gym membership for facilitating behaviour change. Programs are currently funded by North Queensland Primary Health Network, and implemented by PCYC Queensland co-facilitated by MIND Australia, The Junction, and Cairns & Hinterland Mental Health Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drugs Service, with QIMR Berghofer as the research evaluation lead.
Discussion: A community-based collaborative care model for provision of evidence-based PA support is feasible and associated with improvements in psychosocial outcomes for people with mental illness. A state-wide cluster randomized trial of this model is needed to provide robust evidence on service-level cost-effectiveness and impact on metabolic health outcomes of consumers, and to lobby government for sustainable investment.