Physical Activity Boost for Australians Living with Mental Health Conditions

23 December 2021

Australians living with mental health conditions from rural and remote, culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD), lower socio-economic and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities received a significant boost in access to physical activity participation today.

Australian Minister for Sport, Senator Richard Colbeck announced a grant today of $216,251.20 for Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA) to deliver the the HEALTM-ing Mental Health project, a mental health version of the Healthy Eating, Activity & Lifestyle (HEALTM) program designed to support lifelong healthy eating and physical activity behaviours.

ESSA’s program is one of 36 programs sharing in Sport Australia’s $10.3 million investment in the latest round of its Participation Grant Program which provides opportunities for Australians to connect or return to sport and physical activity.

The funding will allow ESSA to partner with HEAL™ providers from across Australia, including Geraldton (WA), Joondalup (WA), Pinnaroo in the Mallee (SA) and Mudgee (NSW).

“It is vital to provide greater access to exercise activities to people l living with mental health conditions in regional, rural and remote locations.. The Australian Government is proud to be able to support the national rollout of this innovative program being delivered by ESSA. Free access to exercise classes and lifestyle education will help address these Australians’ long-term recovery from the mental health impacts of COVID-19,” the Minister said.

Minister Colbeck noted “ESSA’s program is ideally placed to give Australians with a mental health condition more choices for an active life.”

ESSA CEO Anita Hobson-Powell welcomed this funding, “Sport Australia has provided ESSA with the opportunity to showcase how an evidence based lifestyle behavioural change program can change lives. We are grateful for the opportunity to provide leadership to the Australian community on becoming more active.”

More details on how people living with mental health conditions can access the program will be made available on the HEALTM program webpage here in the coming weeks.

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