Authors: Arno Grueber, Jeffrey Gage, Pauline Barnett, New Zealand
Event: 2014 TheMHS Conference
Subject: Physical Health, book of proceedings 2014
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: Research indicates that physical activity interventions in community mental health settings contribute to service users’ recovery. However, research studies seldom incorporate service users’ experiences with such interventions. This paper describes a qualitative descriptive study with 13 service users of the Activity Based Experience (ABE) Programme of non-government organisation Richmond Services Limited in Christchurch, New Zealand. Service users described their perceptions of physical, psychological and social support benefits and barriers to physical activity. Several factors affected maintenance of physical activity. Suggestions for improvements were support and programme related. In conclusion, physical activity interventions provide multi-dimensional benefits and help participants overcome barriers to physical activity. Similar interventions should be an integral part of mental health services and focus on early intervention, multidisciplinary collaboration and person-centered approaches. Further research is needed on how best to enable maintenance of physical activity long-term for people with mental illness.