Harmony of health and exercise: Dane Owen (Peer Worker Mental Health); Michallie Pearce (Exercise Physiologist Mental Health) and Kate Giles (Team Leader, Science and Allied Health Laboratories SCU).

Free health program a harmony for collaborators and patients

Dec 07, 2023

Empowering Health Harmony is an innovative exercise and lifestyle mental health program collaboratively designed for people experiencing emotional and physical health challenges.

The Mental Health team at Coffs Harbour Health Campus initiated the program designed to create a safe and supportive environment where people with mental health and co-occurring physical conditions can join in healthy activities without fear, harm, or stigma.

The program acknowledges the well-established connection between mental health conditions and chronic physical health issues.

This initiative is a joint effort between Mid North Coast Local Health District (MNCLHD) and Southern Cross University (SCU), brought to life through executive sponsorship from the MNCLHD Integrated Mental Health, Alcohol and Other Drugs service. It is one of the first collaborations between Mental Health Peer Workers, Exercise Physiologists, Mental Health Nurses, Dieticians, Health Promotion staff, and SCU Exercise Physiology Students.

The program aims to recognise and elevate the essential role of the peer workforce, enhance health literacy, reduce stigma and discrimination, improve care experiences for individuals and families and enhance overall physical healthcare for those with mental health conditions.

This co-designed health model also aims to dismantle barriers experienced by consumers while providing increased access to evidence-based physical health programs that are trauma-informed, culturally safe, and free of charge.

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