Depression and being overweight are issues that many Australians face – about two-thirds of Australians are overweight or obese, and about 6% suffer from depression.
There are currently multiple treatment options available, however, most do not target the many physical, psychological and social links between these two health problems at the same time.
Now, SAHMRI are trialling a novel approach to tackle both depression and being overweight together in a group intervention. The study aims to address the issues of depression and obesity with an end goal of helping sufferers improve both their physical and mental health to establish healthy, lifelong habits that support a happier and more active life.
In developing the program, SAHMRI’s Mind and Brain theme has hand-picked strategies from several evidence-based psychological treatment approaches to help people to;
- better understand themselves
- learn more about health in general
- develop realistic healthy eating and exercise habits
- manage stress effectively
- alter critical thoughts to improve self-confidence and body image, and
- better manage their symptoms of depression.
Health Psychologist Taryn Lores said that so many people struggle with both their weight and with a mental illness like depression.
“People think, ‘once I lose weight, I will feel better, right?’, however this doesn’t always eventuate, and a vicious cycle often ensues. There are many complex mechanisms going on behind the scenes that need to be addressed if we want to truly recover from depression and be at ease with our bodies. We hope that the program we have developed will be an opportunity for people to do just that,” Ms Lores said.
Due to launch in the middle of this year, SAHMRI are currently seeking volunteers for the study.
Participating in the group program will involve attending a two-hour group session each week for ten weeks, with each session focusing on new topics and strategies. Participation will also involve attending some additional appointments at SAHMRI for the purpose of assessment and follow-up.
If you’d like to participate, or know someone who could benefit, please register your interest here.