Why are we doing the project?
The study is looking into the effects of exercise on the mental health of young people with low mood and depression. Work done in the past suggests that doing exercise can have a positive effect on people’s mental health and decrease depression levels. We want to see if it helps young people with depression.
Previous work has also found that young people with depression or low mood don’t do much exercise and therefore are not getting the potential physical or mental health benefits. A recent study has demonstrated that exercising at individuals preferred intensity (chosen level of physical exertion) is more likely to have positive effects on depression levels and keep people interested. Therefore, our exercise programme will be carefully matched to the young person’s needs and abilities, at a level of exertion chosen by them. We feel that by providing motivational support in a friendly, stimulating exercise class we can potentially improve young people’s self esteem, physical fitness, quality of life and, most importantly, lift their mood.
At the moment a G.P has the ability to give out gym passes for people who’s mental health may benefit from some exercise. However, we feel a more enjoyable and stimulating approach is needed to improve depression levels and maintain young people’s interest. Developing and evaluating an exercise programme that people with mental illness can use successfully is important, because improving the physical health of people with mental illness is a national priority (Department of Health 1999).