AWP shine a spotlight on the importance of Movement during Mental Health Awareness Week

The Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership Trust (AWP) used Mental Health Awareness Week recently to shine a spotlight on the importance of movement and physical activity for everyday mental health, or when going through mental health illness.

The national awareness week, led by the Mental Health Foundation, takes place every May and aims to tackle stigma and help people understand and prioritise their own and others’ mental health. The theme this year was ‘Moments for Movement’ which is a reminder to us all of the benefits that movement and physical activity can bring.

Victoria Welsh, Head of Profession-Physiotherapy at AWP, said: “We all know how good it can make you feel when you exercise, and the significant positive benefit it can have on mood. This is why movement and exercise play an important role in the treatment and recovery of mental health illness.

“At AWP the physiotherapist and exercise specialists work closely with our acute mental health wards and older adult services, supporting service users on their exercise journey, as well as addressing physical health problems and mobility issues.

“Along with the physical health benefits people experience from movement, physical activity also offers an opportunity to let off steam and energy. Many people feel agitated and restless when they first arrive for treatment so movement can help to bring some calm.”

AWP recognises the benefits that physical activity has when treating serious mental health illness, and this is reflected across the services that AWP offers. From gyms based in inpatient facilities, a team of physiotherapists and exercise specialists trained to deliver one-to-one and group sessions, and occupational therapists delivering nature-based activity at allotments and gardens, walking and sailing, the moments for movement and opportunities for physical activity at AWP are plentiful.

To celebrate Mental Health Awareness Week AWP went behind the scenes of their services to showcase how to incorporate movement and physical activity into treatment and recovery.

AWP’s Head of Profession for Physiotherapy covered movement in a blog post which can be read here: Blog: Victoria Welsh. AWP also highlighted the work of the Forget Me Not service in Wiltshire, which provides regular walks for dementia patients and carers, and shared the benefits green social prescribing and moving outside in nature can bring to mental and physical wellbeing.

Also highlighted were AWP’s physiotherapy team in Bristol and the newly refurbished gym and activity room at Callington Road Hospital for patients receiving inpatient mental health care.