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TA L K I N G P O I N T

Mental health first aid With one in six people expected to suffer some form of mental health issue each year, should the industry be training mental health first aiders? Kath Hudson investigates

PHOTO: SHUTTERSTOCK/LIGHTFIELD STUDIOS

How will your team support members struggling with mental health issues?

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any gym members will already be using the facilities and programmes off ered by our industry to look after their mental health. Endurance sports such as triathlon, marathon running and long distance swimming frequently appeal to people who have found that the best way to maintain their mental equilibrium is to immerse themselves in training for a tough sport. However, there are so many more people out there who could greatly benefit from exercise to help with their anxiety, depression, bereavement, body image or eating disorders, or maybe a one-off stress like a relationship break-up, but who aren’t coming to clubs for any number of reasons. Despite mental illness impacting 25 per cent of the population, from all walks of life, there still

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remains a stigma around the subject. This means the people who need help sometimes stay in denial or can’t fi nd the motivation to enter a health club. As an operator, how can you reach out to them and make sure you and your team are equipped to off er them a positive experience that helps them manage, or even overcome, their symptoms? According to Richard Holmes, director of wellbeing at Westfi eld Health, an increasing number of GPs are now using exercise as the fi rst intervention for some mental health issues, before prescribing medication. So it’s likely that there will be more referrals. However, there are many ways the industry can quietly reach out to this cohort, as well as retaining members who develop diffi culties. We explore this important subject.

Profile for Leisure Media

Health Club Management May 2019  

Health Club Management is the magazine and online community for decision-makers in the global health club, fitness and gym industry.

Health Club Management May 2019  

Health Club Management is the magazine and online community for decision-makers in the global health club, fitness and gym industry.