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Living Well UK debuts treatment plan to get people feeling fighting fit

The Midland’s leading mental health consortium, Living Well UK, is stepping up its offering, becoming the first in the country to offer a single treatment plan that combines Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) with personal fitness training. The pioneering pilot scheme has been launched this week, giving those who are seeking help for depression and anxiety a holistic solution, benefitting both mind and body at once.


The fitness programme is the first of its kind in the UK, seeing treatments delivered by a qualified Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner. Using fitness as an additional form of therapy, individuals suffering from mild to moderate depression and anxiety will work with the same therapist to receive CBT sessions, as well as one-to-one cardio and strength conditioning.


The scheme has been launched following extensive research into the positive benefits that physical activity has for people’s mental health. One study carried out by the Mental Health Foundation found that just half an hour of low intensity exercise three days a week could massively increase positive moods after as little as three months.


The pandemic has proven to have had a huge impact on the number of new mental health admissions, not helped by the lack of physical activity people have been able to engage in, due to governmental lockdowns and social distancing measures.


Sarah Cannon, Living Well UK’s Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner and Personal Trainer, will be leading the innovative new programme, and is looking forward to seeing its impact. With qualifications as a Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner, Fitness Instructor, Personal Trainer, and Nutrition Coach, Sarah has seen first-hand the benefits that can be reaped from combining physical and mental treatments, with over four and a half years’ experience working for various fitness and wellbeing services.


Sarah is bringing her expertise and knowledge to the new role, saying:


“I have worked for a number of different services over the years, I have always been passionate about the combined benefits of fitness and mental health. I will be working with clients to implement guided cognitive behavioural therapy techniques, as well as writing exercise programs, in order to provide them with one-to-one personal training sessions and nutritional advice.”


The service will be free and available for people to access across Birmingham and Solihull. Each programme will be tailored to each specific individual, allowing them to not only speak about their feelings, but also enable them to engage in a range of physical activities that will benefit their own personal mental health and wellbeing.


Holly Beedon, Clinical Lead at Living Well UK, commented on the new scheme, saying:


“We are so glad that our new fitness program has launched. It is something that we have been working on for a long time, so to work with Sarah on bringing it to fruition is really exciting. Fitness is something that has such a wide variety of positive impacts on people’s mental health, so for that to be taken away from those who use exercise as a coping mechanism due to the pandemic’s restrictions, it has proved to be a challenge. 


“Nonetheless, as a support network, we want to make sure that we can counteract the cycle of people being referred into the mental health system as much as possible. This new fitness scheme is not only a fantastic step in the right direction to providing early interventions for those that are suffering from depression and anxiety, but it is also an accessible, interactive form of therapy that hasn’t really been seen before.”


If you would like to get involved in Living Well UK’s new fitness scheme, or to find out more about the programme, contact us on 0121 663 1217.

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