The Midland’s leading mental health consortium, Living Well UK, is stepping up its offering, becoming the first in the country to appoint a qualified Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner and Personal Trainer. The pioneering pilot scheme has been launched this week, giving those who are seeking help for depression and anxiety a holistic solution, benefitting both mind and body at once.

The fitness programme is the first of its kind in the UK, seeing treatments delivered by Sarah Cannon. Sarah has been appointed as Living Well UK’s Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner and Personal Trainer.

Using fitness as an additional form of therapy, individuals suffering from mild to moderate depression and anxiety will work with the same therapist to receive CBT sessions, as well as one-to-one cardio and strength conditioning.

The brand-new scheme has been launched following a change in strategic direction for Living Well UK, who will look to use physical fitness as an alternative form of therapy for those that are suffering with mental health.

There has been extensive research into the positive benefits that physical activity has for people’s mental health. One study carried out by the Mental Health Foundation found that just half an hour of low intensity exercise three days a week could massively increase positive moods after as little as three months.

With qualifications as a Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner, Fitness Instructor, Personal Trainer, and Nutrition Coach, Sarah has seen first-hand the benefits that can be reaped from combining physical and mental treatments, with over four and a half years’ experience working for various fitness and wellbeing services.

Sarah is bringing her expertise and knowledge to the new role, saying:

“I have worked for a number of different services over the years, I have always been passionate about the combined benefits of fitness and mental health. I will be working with clients to implement guided cognitive behavioural therapy techniques, as well as writing exercise programs, in order to provide them with one-to-one personal training sessions and nutritional advice.”

The service will be free and available for people to access across Birmingham and Solihull. Each programme will be tailored to each specific individual, allowing them to not only speak about their feelings, but also enable them to engage in a range of physical activities that will benefit their own personal mental health and wellbeing.

Whilst hiring Sarah has been a huge step forward for Living Well UK in terms of its new strategic positioning, it still looks to continue to foster and push this initiative over the next 12 months,

Living Well UK’s CEO, Ben Howells, comments on the new growth and direction of the organisation, saying:

“With the pandemic affecting many people’s lives, one of the key things that has been effected due to governmental lockdowns is the way and amount people exercise. With endless amounts of research proving the several benefits that physical activity has on mental health, it has been a great loss for those who use exercise as a coping mechanism.

However, with our new pioneering fitness scheme, we hope to continue to not only grow, but guide this new programme in the right direction. It is such a fun and engaging form of therapy that I believe will be very popular among many.”