Stepping Stone Clubhouse, in the Brisbane suburb of Coorparoo, is a membership-based community of people who experience mental illness and are dedicated to one another’s recovery.
With a focus on their strengths, members are supported to take part in the important worlds that many of us take for granted of family, friendships, education, employment, and affordable housing.
Funding though the Commission’s grant program helped establish of the Healthy Active Lifestyle Program to give members the opportunity to improve or help maintain their physical health, which evidence tells us can aid our mental health.
The program included practical workshops and discussions around nutrition, diet, health, exercise and wellbeing, with clubhouse members involved in making key decisions about the program’s planning, delivery and rollout.
After consultation, members decided a three-day intensive camp would be the most suitable and practical model of delivery, along with optional participation in one or two-day programs in areas of personal interest.
More than 80 clubhouse members participated in the overall program, setting their own healthy active goals to support their recovery journey. The camp attracted 47 members, who received either nutrition information or participated in physical activity, or both.
The excitement of the three-day camp encouraged people to be involved in the Clubhouse’s lunchtime activities and activities outside of the Clubhouse hours, furthering opportunities for social inclusion.
A fitness program was also implemented, where members identified the sports or activities of interest and the Clubhouse set about purchasing yoga equipment, pedometers, swimming passes for the local pool, and memberships with a local gym.
Some healthy competition was encouraged, with more than 50 participants taking up a pedometer challenge, and lunchtime games of soccer, football and basketball. For those less-competitive folk, lunchtime walks, frisbee in the park, swimming, meditation, yoga and attending a local gym were on offer with full support.
Due to the excitement generated, Stepping Stones Clubhouse has since held a second camp. Other aspects of the project will continue to be integrated into the daily operational structure of the Stepping Stone Clubhouse.
The Healthy Active Lifestyle Program is an example of how to involve people with lived experience of mental illness in co-design across all levels of a program. A number of the Clubhouse members have now gone on to initiate gym memberships participate in regular physical activities, independent of the clubhouse.