Mental Health eLearning Program launched to support the mental health of exercise professionals and that of their colleagues and clients.

As Australia continues to see a rise in mental health issues, which have accelerated in the past 12 months due to COVID isolation and uncertainty, the fitness industry is stepping up their ability to support the sector.  

The launch of a new Mental Health eLearning Program (MHeLP), a new offering in the Take Charge suite of programs supporting mental health, assists the sector to be better able to support the mental health of exercise professionals and that of their colleagues and clients. 

Developed in partnership with the Belgravia Foundation and some of the largest and well-known organisations in the sport and leisure sector in Australia and New Zealand, MHeLP is aimed at increasing awareness about mental health and strengthening registered exercise professionals’ ability to assist those experiencing poor mental health. 

MHeLP has been developed with guidance from the following international mental health and exercise experts:

  • Dr Joe Firth (University of Manchester),
  • Professor Alexandra Parker (Victorian University), and
  • Professor Alison Yung (Orygen, University of Melbourne)

Fitness Australia CEO Barrie Elvish said the association was committed to building the fitness industry’s capacity surrounding mental health, particularly when many people use exercise to manage their mental health and wellbeing. 

Mr Elvish said:

“Normalising the conversation around mental health has never been more important. Unfortunately, circumstances over the past 12 months have increased mental health issues in our community. By strengthening the ability of fitness professionals to identify when someone is struggling with their mental health and providing appropriate guidance to help, can be life changing.”

“We know there are many benefits of exercise and helping to improve our mood, manage and maintain our mental health are prime examples. With the launch of MHeLP, a fantastic initiative by Belgravia Foundation, exercise professionals will have more awareness and skills to help their clients manage their mental health.” 

Belgravia Foundation CEO Dr Jeff Walkley said the goal of the eLearning Program was to assist in understanding the facts about mental health and equip people with the skills to be a positive voice.

Dr Walkley said:

“MHeLP is about building the confidence and capacity to better support yourself and others. It’s not about turning you into a psychologist but aims to help normalise the conversation so that fitness professionals can be a positive voice for their own mental health and that of their colleagues and clients.”

Upon completion of this program fitness professionals will be able to:

  • Understand the impact of mental illness on the Australian and New Zealand populations
  • Describe the benefits that exercise has on people’s mental health
  • Recognise the signs of common mental health conditions

Understand how they can provide assistance while remaining in their scope of practice. MHeLP can be accessed via Fitness Australia AusREPs can access the training for free and gain 2 CEC upon completion.