Movement and Your Mental Health – PEERS

Movement and Your Mental Health
by Leah Harris

Our physical and mental health are deeply intertwined. The state of our mind can affect the health of our bodies. Physical activity has been widely correlated with a reduction in depression and anxiety, which in turn can increase physical well-being, which further improves mental health, and so on. Movement also offers an accessible alternative to persons who cannot afford or access traditional psychotherapy, or who have not found such therapies to be beneficial. And recently, researchers at Yale and Oxford published a study indicating that exercise may be more important to our mental health than economic status!

Images from the We Move for Health, May 3rd, 2019 at San Leandro Marina

This month, we’re taking a deeper look at the relationship between physical activity and our mental health. What kinds of physical activity are best — not just for our bodies, but for our minds? What is the “sweet spot” amount of movement that leads to the greatest mental health benefits? And what are alternative options for persons who cannot perform physical activity due to illness or disability?

A 2018 study in The Lancet found that team sports seemed to offer the greatest overall mental health benefits. The researchers analyzed Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey data from 1.2 million adults and found — across age, gender, education status and income — people who exercised had fewer “bad mental health days” than those who didn’t. And people who played team sports reported the fewest. The study’s authors hypothesized that team sports may be so beneficial to mental health because they incorporate the added benefit of community and social support. This is especially relevant for people living with depression or other mental health conditions where isolation is common. A related benefit of team sports is built-in accountability. While you can blow off a solo walk in nature, your team is depending on you to win the game. If team sports aren’t for you, research has demonstrated the self-esteem boosting benefits of activities using synchronized group movements, such as Qi Gong or Tai Chi.

While we know that a lack of physical activity can influence the course of our mental health, more movement does not necessarily mean more benefit. A 2018 study published in The Lancet found that those who exercised more than 90 minutes a day, for most days of the month, reported worse mental health than those who moved less. Generally, researchers recommend a rule of thumb of 30-60 minutes a day, 3-5 times a week for optimum well-being.

When discussing the relationship between physical activity and mental health, it’s important to provide accessible alternatives to people with limited mobility due to disability, illness, or aging. A practice with similar physical and mental health benefits to sustained physical activity is simply spending time in nature. Just 30-40 minutes spent sitting quietly or wandering slowly in a green space, breathing mindfully, can improve mood and even immune function, according to research conducted on the Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku or “forest bathing.

Here’s to moving this spring for our mental health.

To learn more, check out these resources!

            PEERS FACEBOOK PAGE                                                 PEERS WEBSITE

SB 906 Support Letter

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SB 906 Support Letter Template

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Email your letter today!

SB 906 makes sense from both a policy and fiscal perspective and will provide more comprehensive assistance to people in need. Please do your part to bring California up to speed with the rest of the nation in recovery and resiliency services through a State protocol for Medi-CAL billing and Certification of peer and family support specialists.

SB 906: Peer Certification 
introduced by
Senator Beall and Senator Anderson

CAMHPRO and California stakeholders
We look forward to working with both Senators, co authors Hertzberg and Pan, and the bill’s sponsor, the Steinberg Institute, to bring long awaited peer certification to California.

SB 906 The Bill

Peer Provider Certification Fact Sheet

Extended ACAPS Application Deadline March 12

Get five weeks of accelerated peer specialist training

Alameda County Accelerated
Peer Specialist Program

ACAPS FLYER

Extended Application Deadline:
MARCH 12, 2018

ACAPS Participant Application




WEBINARWhat is ACAPS?

Find out by watching the
Previously Recorded Webinar

from Monday, Feb 26, 2018 

This webinar is for potential participants in the Alameda County Accelerated Peer Specialist Program (ACAPS), a training and placement program of the California Association of Peer Run Organizations (CAMHPRO.)

At this webinar you will learn the following:

  • The goals of ACAPS, an 18 month Alameda County focused program.
  • ACAPS training and employment partners
  • The kinds of trainings being offered
  • How to apply to be a participant of the trainings: Participant Application (PDF)

Alameda County Accelerated Peer Specialist Program (ACAPS)

Alameda County Accelerated
Peer Specialist Program

ACAPS FLYER

ACAPS Participant Application

  • Get five weeks of accelerated peer specialist training
  • Receive on-going employment mentorship and peer support
  • Find employment or volunteer positions at different mental health programs in Alameda County run by … La Familia, Alameda County Network of Mental
  • Health Clients, the Pool of Consumer Champions, and Bay Area Community

Training Schedule

First Training Cohort 

BestNow! (website)
Friday, April 13 through
Thursday, May 3
Every Monday, Wednesday,
Thursday, and Friday
10am-3pm

PEERS (website)
Monday, May 21 through
Wednesday, May 23
9am-4pm

Growing Through
Monday, June 11 through Friday,
June 15
9am-6pm

Second Training Cohort

BestNow!
Monday, July 9 through
Thursday, July 26
Monday through Thursday
10am-3pm

PEERS
Monday, August 27 through
Wednesday, August 29
9am-4pm

Growing Through
Monday, September 24 through
Friday, September 28
9am-6pm

Third Training Cohort (optional)

PEERS
Monday, October 8 through
Wednesday, October 10
9am-4pm

BestNow!
Monday, October 22 through
Thursday, November 8
Monday through Thursday
10am-3pm

Growing Through
Monday, December 10 through
Friday, December 14
9am-6pm

For more information and an application, contact Melodee Au at melodee.camhpro@gmail.com 415-361- 0613

Thank you for your support: