Integrative Nutrition Blog

New Health Coaching Program Across Australia Addresses Mental Illness

September 4, 2015

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Health and happiness are different sides of the same coin: the food you eat influences your thoughts and behavior, and on the flipside, your emotional state influences your physical health. 

That’s why we train Health Coaches to explore all aspects of what we call primary food with clients: relationships, career, physical activity, and a spiritual practice. These factors are just as important to your wellbeing as the food on your plate! 

We’re so encouraged to see an Australian organization that recognizes the importance of this connection and is enlisting the help of Health Coaches to make a real difference. 

SANE Australia, a mental health charity, has launched a health coaching program to help people with mental illness maintain both emotional and physical health. After piloting and evaluating the program for over three years, they’re ready to offer it to other mental health organizations across Australia. The program has been so successful that it won an award at the Mental Health Services Conference 2015. That’s big news! 

“People with severe mental illness are likely to die up to 25 years earlier than the general population from conditions… caused by obesity, smoking, and a lack of exercise. This is alarming and avoidable,” said Jack Heath, the CEO of SANE Australia. 

This program matches patients with Health Coaches who have also overcome mental health issues and understand the inherent challenges of recovery. Together they focus on building healthy behaviors such as getting regular exercise, cooking healthy meals, losing weight, and stopping smoking. 

“There was that immediate understanding that I was working with someone who had that lived experience of mental health recovery and that I would be understood,” said one patient recovering from an eating disorder. “I found that really reassuring and I felt that we could really work through problems together.” 

We’re working hard to spread a ripple effect of health and happiness around the world, and it’s so inspiring to see such incredible progress in Australia. We hope this program serves as a model to other countries around the world – together we are strong!

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