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Lifestyle Medicine for Mental Health Services

Learn how lifestyle medicine can prevent and manage mental illness with practical frameworks to use in mental health services.

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 mental health services 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?

You’ll start by developing your understanding of lifestyle medicine from both a lived experience perspective and as a foundational part of care.

With this knowledge, you’ll explore the existing guidelines and the key pillars of the lifestyle medicine approach.

Explore the importance of behaviour change

Next, you’ll uncover how behaviour change is crucial in lifestyle medicine approaches.

You’ll learn the principles of behaviour change and explore how communication skills can help with this change.

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 at Deakin University and James Cook University, 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 8 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 0 minutes and 59 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 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 optimization and study the impact of psychotropic medications on physical health.

Skip to 1 minute and 54 seconds Our experts will share their knowledge with you, sort of series of presentations and case studies. Sharon Curtain will discuss and demonstrate communication skills. Professor Alison Yung will talk about medications 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 the involvement of consumers and peers.

Skip to 2 minutes and 42 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, but we’ll 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.


  • Week 1

    Introduction to life and mind

    • Let's get started

      Meet your teaching team and other learners, and find key information about this course, including useful tips and links to help you get the most out of your learning.

    • The key pillars of the Lifestyle Medicine approach

      Let’s take a closer look at the main pillars of lifestyle medicine.

    • Weekly wrap

      Reflect on the key ideas presented this week and find out what's coming up in Week 2.

  • Week 2

    Introduction to behaviour change in lifestyle medicine

    • Behaviour change, communication and health settings environment.

      Behaviour change is often required to improve lifestyle. For this, great communication and an encouraging health settings environment provide essential foundations.

    • Caring for others and caring for self

      Review the impact of psychotropic medications on physical health, consider self-care and explore educational strategies and digital tools to support your practice.

    • Weekly wrap

      Reflect on the key ideas presented this week and find out what’s coming up in Week 3.

  • Week 3

    Clinical lifestyle programs implementation and evaluation

    • Program implementation, models of care and multidisciplinary teams

      Examine program implementation and models of care and hear from a range of experts about their work in Lifestyle Medicine.

    • Research in Lifestyle Medicine

      Let’s review the main methods and steps to conduct and disseminate research in Lifestyle Medicine.

    • Course wrap up and summative assessment part 2

      Reflect on what you’ve learnt throughout the course to consolidate your knowledge and areas you may need to review and undertake your summative assessment part 2.

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
  • Examine medication optimisation in people with moderate-severe mental illness to reduce the risk of comorbidities
  • Explore behaviour change approaches in people with mental illness
  • Discuss implementation and evaluation of lifestyle medicine models of care across health service settings.

Who is the course for?

The course is designed for health professionals working in mental health services, 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

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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