Let’s do Lunch with Associate Professor Simon Rosenbaum this mental health month and feel motivated to ‘move our mood’. This year’s Mental Health Month theme is ‘we all have a role to play’ and Simon will share his experience of how we can each contribute to achieving a healthcare approach that integrates physical activity for mental wellbeing.
Flourish Australia is proud to have Simon Rosenbaum as an Ambassador the Flourish Foundation. An Exercise Physiologist, Simon sees an important synergy between our mission and his foundational belief that good health is a universal human right.
He says we must fight to change the huge disparity between people with complex mental health issues and the wider community, when it comes to wellbeing and life expectancy.
Recognising that so much research points to the positive benefits of physical activity for mental wellbeing, he asks:
‘Why isn’t exercise prescribed and physical activity integrated into mental health treatment programs?’
When he noticed that the gym at a mental health ward where he worked was completely underutilised, Simon embarked on a quest to understand the barriers to exercise.
What emerged, is that access to supportive exercise is too often a class privilege.
Things that many of us in Australia take for granted, such as gym membership, having recreational time available, even owning the right clothes and training shoes, can be barriers to exercising.
Which leads Simon to ask:
'What might happen if healthcare provided people with the support and resources they needed to exercise in a safe and inclusive environment?'
Simon has devoted 10 years to working out how to make the mood-improving benefits of moving our body accessible to people who face the greatest barriers to being able to participate in physical activity. He has been inspired by hearing people within
a refugee community in Bangladesh share how playing soccer helped to relieve the tension they felt, living in extremely challenging conditions.
Dedicated to coming up with a solution that can benefit the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in communities from Bondi to Bangladesh, he has developed a pilot program called Addi Moves, starting with migrant women in Marrickville.
The concept creates a safe and inclusive space where people can participate in exercise that is enjoyable and culturally appropriate for them, co-designed by community members who have relevant lived experience, together with experienced exercise professionals. Creating an opportunity for social connection and improved mental and emotional wellbeing, by breaking down the barriers to taking part.
Simon believes that we all have a responsibility to create opportunities that match the needs of those we are trying to reach, when it comes to mental health treatment and recovery. Why not start by working together to make new models like this happen, that provide a well-resourced community exercise hub, that is unlike the structure or environment of a traditional gym!
By partnering with UNSW on the pilot program, Simon’s hope is to ultimately educate health professionals on the possibilities for incorporating physical exercise into mental healthcare.
It’s about doing our part to give the disadvantaged in our communities, equal opportunity to feel better by participating in mood-enhancing movement. And building a more informed health workforce for our future.
Be part of Flourish Australia’s FREE webinar event
Let's Do Lunch with Associate Professor Simon Rosenbaum
Friday 27 October 2023
and put your questions forward for Simon.
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