Combining Physical Exercise and Mental Health: The Mind in Motion Project Pilots the Use of Individualized Exercise Programs for Students Experiencing Depressive Symptoms and Aids UBC's Expansion of Mental Health Services.

Interview: Dr. Guy Faulkner & Dr. Madelaine Gierc, Co-Leads of Mind in Motion

We had the opportunity to speak with the Mind in Motion team, a CLL-funded project. The team includes Dr. Guy Faulkner, a faculty member in the School of Kinesiology, Dr. Madelaine Gierc, a Post Doctoral Fellow in physical activity and public health, and Dr. Lauren Mcbride, Ed.D., the Associate Director of Clinical Services at Counseling Services.

The program is designed to provide students with an exercise intervention as part of their mental health care. "Exercise is a unique intervention because it bridges psychological and physical health," says Gierc. "It's multifaceted and holistic in its approach to wellness, which is unique in mental health care." The program is also designed to be inclusive, welcoming all bodies and fitness levels.

The team is excited to be working in the campus environment, which offers many resources to support exercise and wellness. "The campus is ideal for helping students bridge into independent exercise," says Gierc. "We want to support them in being active in the community on their own after the intervention is over." The team is also working to develop resources for exercise professionals to work with individuals with depression.

The program is being developed as a work-integrated learning opportunity for upper-level Kinesiology students. "We hope it's not just beneficial for students going through the program," says Faulkner. "But we're also providing a significant learning opportunity for our kinesiology students to be trained as exercise practitioners in the context of mental health."

The team emphasizes the importance of collaboration in developing this program. "We all have a shared vision and understanding of the project, which has led to a ton of synergy," says Gierc. "We all agree that mental health is essential on campuses. We all agree that physical activity can play a role in supporting students and their mental health."

Mind in Motion is an exciting new program that offers a unique approach to mental health care. It is designed to be inclusive, holistic, and collaborative, and it has the potential to make a real difference in the lives of students at UBC.

Learn more about the project