Gym owners muscle up to help lift weight of mental illness
DEDICATED to helping the youth of the Whitsundays, one young woman is campaigning for change by shining a light on mental illness.
After working in youth support services for more than six years, Mackay and District Educational Council youth worker Torii Kelly will witness her latest vision come to fruition when the Youth Empowerment and Support Services Physical Health Program launches next month.
From September 1, 14 to 21-year-olds accessing mental health services, who have an existing or new mental health plan, or through consultation with Ms Kelly, will be able to access subsidised fitness programs and venue access.
Ms Kelly said after learning about the positive affects of exercise on improving mental health, she was determined to help the Whitsundays' youth experience the benefits themselves.
"This program is something I have been thinking about for a while - all of the studies that have been done show there are massive improvements in mental health through exercise and physical activity,” she said.
"This program isn't meant to replace other forms of therapy, but meant to compliment them.”
Ms Kelly, who has been going through her own fitness journey and recognised the positive effects it was having on her mental health, approached the region's fitness professionals to become part of the program.
As a result, Mana Performance Centre owner Adam Warnock, Gravity Fitness owner Kieran Rundle, Airlie Fitness personal trainer Liam Pirlo and Whitsunday Martial Arts co-owner Dan Zealand have come on board.
"They genuinely all care about the community, they were all really happy to jump on board and help,” Ms Kelly said.
"They all loved the idea and are all well aware about the positive affects of physical health.”
Mr Zealand, who has a passion for martial arts and has experienced the benefits of exercise first-hand, is a proud advocate for the program.
"We're excited to meet some new people and hopefully we can assist in turning a pretty ordinary situation around,” he said.
"If this program changes just one person's situation, that's a pretty good outcome.”
The program has funding for a six-month trial period, and if proven to be a success, Ms Kelly hopes to expand the resource to Bowen and Mackay.
For more information about the program, contact Torii Kelly on 0429 366 451 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.