Adding exercise into routine mental health care

Exercise physiologists are using research to add exercise into mental health treatment to help patients like Michael Fortier during their admission and beyond.

24 October 2018 

Exercise Physiologist Kirrily Gould, who works at St John of God Richmond and Burwood hospitals, said her own research and external research had shown positive results when exercise was used in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), drug and alcohol addiction, anxiety and depression.

“Our research is adding to a body of work worldwide showing that exercise can be a form of medicine,” Kirrily said.

“We are providing lifestyle interventions here looking at people’s daily activities and trying to incorporate exercise as medicine for the treatment of their mental illnesses.”

All patients at the hospital have access to the gym and other facilities, on top of treatment and care provided by exercise physiologists.

Patient Michael Fortier, who after a career as a police officer developed PTSD and depression, said exercise had been a key part of his recovery.

“It’s changed my life a lot. It has given me my confidence back again which I had lost, I could sleep better and my moods are better,” he said.

“With Kirrily, I set my goals and she helped me get back into a routine – which I think is the main thing.”