Skip links and keyboard navigation

Research grant to improve quality of life in adults with severe mental illness

29 March 2023

Nearly 200 ground-breaking medical research projects, including one led by Metro South Health researchers, will share in more than $382 million in grants through the Medical Research Future Fund.

Metro South Health will be a key partner in a project that was awarded a grant of more than $591,000 to improve the quality of life in adults with severe mental illness.

People with severe mental illness have lower quality of life, and die 10-20 years earlier than the general population, caused by preventable diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Exercise can prevent and manage these diseases; however, exercise intervention is not currently offered routinely in mental health services.

One of the investigators on the project Dr Justin Chapman from Metro South Addiction and Mental Health Services says even though there are many factors that contribute to our health and wellbeing, exercise as therapy should be supported in healthcare settings across the spectrum of promotion and prevention, early intervention, and management of health.

"All kinds of physical activity and recreation are beneficial, and exercise physiologists are ideally situated to provide evidence-based support for people with complex conditions," Dr Chapman said.

"It’s no secret that a good portion of the population struggles with maintaining an exercise routine while meeting the demands of life in a modern society.

"Mental health challenges such as stress, fatigue, worry and feelings of depression can make it even more difficult for people to be physically active, and people with severe and persistent mental health conditions face even more challenges to adopting and maintaining exercise.

"However, people with health conditions of any kind – including ones that are highly disrupting to peoples’ lives – value individualised exercise support as part of their care, and enabling people to find their active lifestyle requires a personalised and supportive approach across hospital and community settings."

Dr Chapman says this study is exciting because it builds on six years of implementing and evaluating exercise programs with health services and community organisations across Queensland.

"Exercise physiologists will integrate with mental health teams in Metro South Health and Metro North Health regions, and work across community settings with PCYC Queensland and other mental health non-government organisations," he said.

"This study will result in evidence on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of exercise as part of routine mental health care, an essential step for advocating for more holistic models of care involving exercise and other lifestyle support for people with mental illnesses."

Metro South Health investigators involved in the project: Dr Justin Chapman, Prof Dan Siskind, Dr Urska Arnautovska, Dr Nicole Korman, Dr Marianne Wyder and Mr Geoffrey Lau.

Last updated 29 March 2023
Last reviewed 29 March 2023

Other news

Redland Hospital opens new Crisis Support Space

The new Redland Hospital Crisis Support Space recently opened its doors to the community providing a peaceful haven for people experiencing mental health crisis or distress.

Silent disco has patients moving and grooving at PA Hospital

A new musical activity is making waves for inpatients at PA Hospital’s Addiction and Mental Health Services unit, but you wouldn’t hear about it.