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GP referred activity boosting youth mental health in Shoalhaven

GP referred activity boosting youth mental health in Shoalhaven
March 17, 2017

A program that sees general practitioners formally refer young patients to their local PCYC for exercise is seeing positive psychological and physical results in NSW.

The program started when junior medical doctor Kevin Rourke wondered if getting young people into boxing for fitness would improve their mental health.

The Canadian-born medic started a trial in 2016 for 50 young people, and the results were so promising it has led to a formal partnership between Shoalhaven GPs and the Nowra PCYC.

30 young people have been referred to the Nowra PCYC by GPs so far this year.

PCYC Shoalhaven Manager Sam Kettlewell told the ABC "we recognise young people don’t have much access to money, so we wanted to provide support appropriately at low cost or no cost."

The program was originally designed to be for boxing only, but has recently been expanded to include all the sport and recreation programs at the PCYC.

Young people do not have to have a formal diagnosis of a mental illness, and the referral entitles them to free membership at the PCYC and five free classes of their choice.

Kettlewell added "we’ve opened the program to offer archery, our general drop-in service, other fitness programs and anything else we have on offer."

Image used for illustrative purposes only.

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