Positively impacting physical health in mental health: Lessons learned for partnerships in regional NSW

Gabrielle McNamara, Caroline Robertson, Rachel Rossiter, Tegan Hartmann

Research output: Other contribution to conferenceAbstract


Extensive research has demonstrated regular physical activity as key to maintaining physical and mental well-being. Nevertheless, research reporting on the design and delivery of a physical activity program with Older People with lived experience of mental illness is limited. To date, there are no reports describing research undertaken within a regional/rural setting in New South Wales.
In 2020, an interdisciplinary team comprising Occupational Therapists and Accredited Exercise Physiologists (AEP) in partnership with academic researchers tackled the challenge of designing and delivering a physical activity program with Older People in the bush. The aim of the project was to deliver a 12-week exercise program consisting of three 60-minute weekly sessions to participants already engaged with case managers from the local Older Persons Mental Health team. The program was to be delivered by an AEP in a fully equipped gym environment accessible to community members with a design informed by research and consisting of a combination of cardio, balance, and resistance training tailored to the identified needs of each participant.
This presentation will reflect on a journey of co-design, adaptation, problem-solving and tenacity leading to delivery of a successful program. It will examine the challenges, benefits and strengths of a partnership incorporating clinicians from a public mental health service, AEPs from a private business and university based academic researchers. The presentation will conclude with an analysis of co-design in practice; the experience of applying research to practice despite a pandemic; and discussion of the implications and lessons learned to inform future research endeavours.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2022
EventEqually Well Symposium 2022 - Griffith University, Gold Coast, Australia
Duration: 12 Apr 202213 Apr 2022
https://www.equallywell.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/4315_7376-Equally-Well-Symposium-Poster-A3-amended-2202-04-07.pdf (Program)
https://www.equallywell.org.au/equally-well-symposium-2022/symposium-abstract/ (Link to speakers (which links to pres/abstract))


ConferenceEqually Well Symposium 2022
Abbreviated titleEqually Well: Action and collaboration for hope and health
CityGold Coast
OtherEqually Well Australia will be hosting the second Equally Well Symposium at the Gold Coast campus of Griffith University.

Experts from the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia have been invited to share innovative practice and developments aimed to improve the physical health and wellbeing of people living with mental illness.

With the generous support of our sponsors this two day event is free for all attendees. This sponsorship also provides a limited number of bursaries available to consumers and carers to support travel and expenses to attend the symposium.

The theme of the Equally Well 2022 Symposium is Equally Well: Action and collaboration for hope and health.

We invite abstracts to be submitted as a poster, soapbox or general presentation on the following topics.
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