Names of investigators
Mr Ivan Jeftic, Dr Bonnie Furzer, Professor James Dimmock, Dr Timothy Budden, Professor Michael Rosenberg, Professor Catherine Sabiston, Associate Professor Ben Jackson
Young adults, aged 18-24 years, are currently experiencing the highest rates of mental health challenges relative to the general population. University life has been identified as a primary stressor for many students experiencing mental health challenges. To assist students, many Universities employ staff to integrate mental health support for students at a clinical and non-clinical level. Currently, the most prominent support on-campus includes medical centres (e.g., general practitioners, psychiatrists, nurses), and psychological support services (e.g., psychologists, counsellors). However, many students are still experiencing lengthy wait lists for to receive support, and institutions are exploring other mental health treatment avenues that may improve student wellbeing.
One such avenue, that has been identified as a potential complement to existing services, is the provision of an on-campus exercise program for students experiencing mental health challenges. The benefits of exercise for people experiencing mental health challenges are well-documented; however, it has seldom been trialled to implement such a service on-campus. Due to this, the Psychology of Active, Healthy Living (PAHL) group, in cooperation with Thriving (UWA), Student Life (UWA), the University of Toronto, and James Cook University, have developed Stride.
Stride is referral-based exercise program to support students experiencing mental health challenges. The program offers students 12-weeks of structured exercise with a trained mentor. We believe this is the first program of its kind offered in Australia, and as such our research team is dedicated to assessing the feasibility and efficacy of the program, analysing the changes in mental health symptomatology, physical activity participation, university life engagement, and nutrition of students partaking in Stride. We hope our efforts may provide a blueprint for other universities around Australia, and worldwide, to implement similar programs, ultimately better supporting students’ mental health and wellbeing.
Funders of the project
- Student Life – The University of Western Australia
- The University of Western Australia
- James Cook University
- University of Toronto