The latest findings from The Australian Institute of Health & Welfare highlight the proportion of specialist homelessness service clients with a mental health issue rose to one in four in 2014/15. Many people in this situation become isolated and struggle to deal with the effects of depression, anxiety and self-harm.
Path 2 Change works collaboratively with those at risk of or experiencing homelessness to overcome barriers and access a future pathway via education, training or employment. With a focus on causes, not symptoms, the charity offers individualised support plans to young people with complex needs.
There is a well-established link between physical activity and psychological wellbeing. Me Unlimited! is a unique fitness-based program that will help develop life and coping skills for youth at risk of homelessness with mental health barriers, allowing them to reconnect with their community and pursue their education, training and employment goals.
The initial pilot project will consist of a series of three-month programs that will equip participants with education and resources to help them set realistic goals and develop healthy eating and exercise routines, improving and managing their mental health status.
Young people engaging in Me Unlimited! will learn about nutrition and exercise and the effects it has on the body, both physically and mentally. Increased exercise, healthier eating and positive engagement with peers will work to; reduce symptoms of mental illness among participants, help minimise feelings of isolation, and foster motivation to pursue their educational and career goals.
At the completion of the program our hope is that participants will have developed a set of new life skills, including techniques to better cope and manage their mental health. Case managers will also continue to work with the young people to ensure they have access to education, training and employment options.
For more information on the program visit www.path2change.org.au