In surfers paradise, Bondi Beach Australia, a groundbreaking fitness programme has been developed to tackle the growing problem of physical health in those with mental health conditions. After noting its success, the NHS is importing the model to help in the UK.
There are over 300,000 people in England diagnosed with conditions such as psychosis, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Antipsychotic medicine is often prescribed, and while it is effective at reducing symptoms, other side effects include rapid weight gain. This weight gain can become such a cause for concern for the patient that they stop taking the medication, which in turn leads to relapse.
In addition to this, it has been found that many people with mental health problems tend to have poor diets, smoke and take little exercise. All of these factors considered, it comes as no surprise that they die, on average, 15-20 years earlier than the general population.
Five years ago mental health workers in...