• Deakin University
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  • RACGP logo

Lifestyle Medicine for Mental Health Services: Life and Mind

Learn how to prevent and manage mental illness with practical frameworks to use in services that provide mental health care.

Healthy woman lifestyle balanced practicing meditate and zen energy yoga outdoors on the bridge in morning the mountain nature. Healthy life Concept.

Explore the use of lifestyle medicine in the prevention of mental illness

There is now considerable evidence for using lifestyle interventions as a pivotal approach to prevent and treat common mental illness.

On this three-week course, you’ll discover the benefits of using lifestyle medicine in services that provide mental health care and gain practical skills to use in your context.

This course has been developed by mental health clinicians, academics, and those with lived experience. With their expertise, you’ll be supported in implementing lifestyle medicine to aid in the assessment and management of mental illness, recovery, and wellbeing.

What is lifestyle medicine?

Lifestyle medicine uses the evidence-based application of nutrition, movement, sleep, mind-body practices, reduced substances, social prescribing, connection and more. This is then combined with enhanced behaviour change and health coaching, models of care, and digital health to prevent and treat disease and lead to whole-of-person wellbeing.

You’ll gain an understanding of lifestyle medicine from both a lived experience perspective and as a foundational part of care.

Explore the importance of behaviour change

Next, you’ll uncover how behaviour change and health coaching is crucial in lifestyle medicine approaches. You’ll explore communications skills, behaviour change frameworks, coaching guides, digital tools, and built environment optimisation.

With this knowledge, you’ll have a better understanding of how to care for others and yourself.

Develop as a mental health clinician with Deakin University and James Cook University.

Finally, you’ll gain the practical skills to successfully implement clinical lifestyle programmes.

Guided by the experts, you’ll finish the course with the knowledge and confidence to use lifestyle medicine in your mental health practice.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 0 seconds RUSSELL ROBERTS: No matter what sort of professional you are, you can make a role within your remit to improve physical health. In Equally Well Australia, we have a collective impact approach, which is, you do what you can, where you can, when you can.

Skip to 0 minutes and 15 seconds SAM MANGER: We know with very good evidence now the impact on our physical health, not just preventing illness, but actually treating and reversing some of our most common chronic diseases like diabetes, like heart disease and a range of others. In the last 10 years, we’ve seen a real flourishing of the interventional research in mental health disorders showing how effective it is in depression and anxiety, and improving cognition in a raft of other severe mental illnesses. And these flow-on effects then go on to people’s social well-being as well. [SOLEMN MUSIC]

Skip to 0 minutes and 53 seconds TETYANA ROCKS: Hello, everyone. It’s my pleasure to welcome you to our course, Lifestyle Medicine for Mental Health Services– Life and Mind. I’m Dr. Tetyana Rocks, senior research fellow and accredited dietitian. I lead the Food and Mood Academy at Deakin University. I will be your lead educator in the course and facilitate your learning over the next three weeks as we explore principles and foundations of lifestyle medicine. Your other lead educator is Dr. Sam Manger, a general practitioner and lifestyle medicine lead at James Cook University. In week 1 of the course, we will set the scene by discussing the development of lifestyle medicine as a field of research and practise and as foundational part of care.

Skip to 1 minute and 44 seconds We will also review current recommendations from professional bodies. We will start building the knowledge in lifestyle medicine by discussing some key pillars such as assessment, diet and body movement, social and nature connections, sleep, and mind and body practises. We will hear from experts in the field. Dr. Sam Manger will introduce the lifestyle medicine to us. And Professor Russell Roberts will talk about lifestyle medicine as a essential part of care for people living with serious mental illness. In week 2, we explore principles of behaviour change, talk about communication skills, educational strategies, and importance of motivation. We’ll discuss health settings optimisation and study the impact of psychotropic medications on physical health.

Skip to 2 minutes and 39 seconds Our experts will share their knowledge with you through series of presentations and case studies. Sharon Curtain will discuss and demonstrate communication skills. Professor Alison Yung will talk about medication actions and their potential impact on physical health and what to do about it. In week 3, we will talk about programme implementation, models of care, collaboration, co-design, and research. Professor Jackie Curtis will discuss keeping body and mind programme. Dr. Scott Teasedale, a dietitian, will talk about diet and nutrition and their role in mental health care. Associate Professor Simon Rosenbaum will discuss co-design and involvement of consumers and peers.

Skip to 3 minutes and 28 seconds Matt Waugh, a mental health nurse, will talk about his work in running lifestyle-based programme in a very challenging setting of a mental health ward. Dr. Elizabeth Loudon, a New Zealand GP, will discuss lifestyle medicine in primary care. And finally, Professor Adrienne O’Neil will share her expertise in lifestyle medicine-based research. Throughout the course, we will be referring to papers and scientific sources that provide additional evidence for your learning. We will also share links and downloadable resources which will support your practise. I’m here to assist with your learning, to answer your questions, and to discuss lifestyle medicine with you to cement the deep understanding and appreciation of this subject and its application in practise. Welcome, enjoy, and good luck.

What topics will you cover?

  • Evidence for lifestyle interventions in mental and comorbid illness
  • Medication options to reduce the risk of co-morbidities
  • Behaviour change and health coaching
  • Built environment optimisation
  • Implementation and evaluation of lifestyle and social programs and research
  • Case studies with leaders implementing lifestyle medicine in mental health care around the world

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Describe the role of lifestyle medicine approaches in people with mental illness (including diet and body movement, mind and body, sleep and substance and social and nature connection).
  • Investigate medication optimisation in people with moderate-severe mental illness to reduce the risk of comorbidities
  • Explore a variety of case studies showing the application of the lifestyle medicine in practice
  • Apply knowledge and skills to deliver the implementation and evaluation of lifestyle medicine models of care and programs across health service settings.
  • Summarise behaviour change approaches in people with mental illness (including communication skills, Positive Psychology coaching, educational strategies and built environment optimisation).

Who is the course for?

The course is designed for health professionals working in services that provide mental health care, such as psychiatrists, general practitioners, allied health, nursing staff, community workers, and peer support workers.

The course is also relevant for families and carers of those with lived experience of mental illness.

Who will you learn with?

Dr Sam Manger, clinical and academic General Practitioner with a focus on lifestyle medicine and mental health. Academic Lead, Master & Graduate Diploma of Lifestyle Medicine, James Cook University

Dr Tetyana Rocks is Senior Research Fellow and Head of Education & Training at the Food & Mood Centre, Deakin University. Tetyana is Accredited Practicing Dietitian passionate about public health.

Who developed the course?

Deakin University

Deakin University is one of Australia’s largest universities with more than 61,000 students and over 15,000 online.

  • Established

  • Location

    Melbourne, Australia
  • World ranking

    Top 280Source: QS World University Rankings 2021

James Cook University

Ranked in the top 2% of universities worldwide we are focused on addressing the critical challenges facing the tropics and globe, in areas as diverse as Medicine, Dentistry, Nursing, Allied Health and Public Health.

  • Established

  • Location

    Queensland, Australia
  • World ranking

    Top 400Source: Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2023

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) is Australia’s largest professional general practice organisation and represents urban and rural general practitioners. RACGP represents more than 35,000 members working in or towards a career in general practice.

What's included?

This is a premium course. These courses are designed for professionals from specific industries looking to learn with a smaller group of like-minded individuals.

  • Learn best practices from experts
  • Learn from the experience of other health professionals
  • Fit learning around your schedule with unlimited access
  • Get evidence of learning outcomes and CPD hours
  • Certificate of Achievement to prove your success when you're eligible
  • Download and print your Certificate of Achievement anytime

Still want to know more? Check out our FAQs

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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