Healthy Active Minds

Edinburgh Leisure’s Healthy Active Minds project uses physical activity to help people experiencing stress, anxiety or depression improve their mental wellbeing. Read these case studies to see the impact the project is having on people's lives.

Fay, 41, was recently referred to Healthy Active Minds by her GP and believes that it has helped get her back on her feet after a long period of poor mental health.

“I had been trying to beat my anxiety and depression for years, but all my efforts had been in vain. It got so bad that my voice trembled and I physically shook when I spoke to new people. I was taking medication for both conditions, but I was still too scared to leave the house and face the world. When I heard about Healthy Active Minds, I knew I needed to give it a go to try and improve my quality of life.”

At first, Fay felt nervous about going to the gym and meeting her Healthy Active Minds instructor. Leaving the house made her feel anxious and the stress of covering up how she felt in front of new people left her feeling exhausted – all she could think about was getting home as soon as possible.

Over time, things got easier. Although she admits there were days when she didn’t want to get out of bed and go to the gym, having an appointment at a set time with her instructor encouraged her to persevere. Today, Fay feels more confident, is looking forward to getting back to employment and is starting to feel more like her old self again.

“My overall health and wellbeing have both improved drastically since starting Healthy Active Minds. Although I still have problems, I’m able to cope with them a lot better now. I’m so glad my doctor referred me to the programme as I’m sure I’d still be struggling if I hadn’t joined.”

Sam, 33, was referred to Healthy Active Minds by her GP. After starting the programme, she began to see huge improvements in her mental health and wellbeing. Sam had previously suffered from anxiety and depression as a result of an abusive marriage that had led to her attempting suicide. Following a period of recovery, she decided to move away and start a new life in Edinburgh.

The impact that this had had on her mental health was very difficult to overcome. She would often isolate herself from social occasions and turn to comfort eating and online gambling as a coping mechanism.

Sam was keen to sign up to Healthy Active Minds when she heard about it through her GP. The programme gave her a way not only to improve her mental wellbeing, but to help lose weight, improve fitness, gain confidence and avoid having to take further medication.

At first, she was nervous and didn’t know what to expect. Her instructor soon put her at ease, taking the time to discuss Sam’s personal goals and develop a plan to help her move forward. She started to familiarise herself with the gym and made regular appointments with her instructor until she felt comfortable enough using the equipment on her own. Sam’s instructor soon started to see a difference in her – she was happier, more confident and was challenging herself in the gym.

Now Sam has regained her confidence and is achieving things she never previously thought she could. By channelling her energy into fitness, she now feels confident enough to go to the gym without feeling self-conscious. She’s even signed up to a half marathon, something she would never have had the confidence to do before starting Healthy Active Minds! We’re pleased to say that Sam has now returned to full-time employment and feels so much happier, both in herself and in her new relationship.

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