It’s about working out together and heading off mental health problems before they get serious.
A group of local teens started meeting this week for Spin It Out, a new program operated free-of-charge by Ironworks Fitness and Southwest Counselling Services.
“A lot of the time, when people struggle with their mental health, they don’t always have the proper coping tools,” says Taryn Barnes, a social worker spearheading Spin It Out.
Sarnia’s youth struggle with a high incidence of anxiety, mood disorders and suicide, Barnes said.
“We’ve heard teens and their parents talk about a lack of services here, especially for long-term therapy, and we felt it was important to offer an alternative.”
Barnes and her partners own the new Southwest Counselling Services at the DMI Building in Point Edward.
“It’s our way of giving back to our community,” she said. “And Ironworks is great to work with us.”
About one-third of Barnes’ clients are teens dealing with everything from depression to bipolar disorders. Many are looking for help because they are grieving, going through family crises or facing other challenges.
Spin It Out meets Mondays for the next seven weeks from 6:45 p.m. to 8 p.m. Participants may already be diagnosed or just beginning to realize they are struggling, Barnes said.
“You don’t move your body as much when you struggle with mental health but when the heart rate is increased, research tells us that motion releases endorphins, like the feel good chemical serotonin.
“It also helps with concentration and focus.”
Thirty minutes of rigorous exercise has been shown to increase scoring on cognitive testing, she said.
Spin It Out incorporates exercise with psycho-education; teaching participates to understand symptoms of failing mental health and how to cope better.
There are definitely preventive steps that people can take to stop spiralling downward, said Barnes.
Spin It Out is for ages 13 to 18 and can accommodate up to 13 people. At press time, there was still room for registrants. If interest warrants, the program will be repeated, Barnes said.
Call her at 519-520-9745 for details.