VANCOUVER, British Columbia/Unceded Territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nation, Nov. 01, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Fitness worldlocal fitness organization, and HeadsUpGuys, a mental health support program based at the University of British Columbia (UBC), have partnered to address the pressing issue of men’s mental health challenges during the colder months. This collaborative effort aims to promote the vital role that fitness, movement and social connection play in mitigating the effects of seasonal mood swings. The initiative also encourages conversation and provides access to support through HeadsUpGuys, an online, anonymous resource specifically designed for men and their families.
The winter season often increases mental health challenges, especially for men. In Canada, men account for 75-80% of suicide deaths with untreated depression being a leading risk factor. The stigma associated with seeking help for mental health problems, combined with more time spent sitting during the colder months, only exacerbates the decline in mental health during this period, making it crucial to create an open dialogue and system for support. Through this partnership, Fitness World and HeadsUpGuys are committed to removing these barriers and providing much needed information and resources to help men face these challenges head on.
“Fitness World believes that exercise is not just about physical health, it’s also about mental well-being, with studies showing that at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week had a 22% lower risk of developing depression“, he says Chris Smith, President and CEO of Fitness World. “Our partnership with HeadsUpGuys encourages us to break down barriers when it comes to talking about mental health by connecting with our male members and the wider community, promoting exercise as a preventative measure and coping mechanism during the winter months and throughout the year. partnerships like the one created between Fitness World Canada and HeadsUpGuys are integral to addressing the unique needs and challenges of British Columbia communities, using combined resources and expertise to address the critical issue of mental health.
Collaboration is at the heart of this partnership, with Fitness World Canada and HeadsUpGuys taking a multi-pronged approach to make a real difference in the community by supporting their members, providing educational tools for their staff, and enabling HeadsUpGuys to build community resilience through donation .
Within clubs, Fitness World encourages their members, both in the gym and through digital channels, to use HeadsUpGuys self-test tool. This tool allows people to reflect on their mental wellbeing, while providing a valuable means of self-assessment and access to support.
Fitness World is committed to a 360-degree approach to fitness and wellness. Their training programs are based on the 5 pillars of fitness, one of which is Support, encouraging trainers to check in with their clients, talk about challenges and be a motivating support system for their clients. Fitness World provides guidance to its employees and personal trainers to prepare them to have meaningful conversations about mental health with members and clients. The goal is for them to feel more confident referring people to the resources available at HeadsUpGuys, ensuring that the entire Fitness World community is well-informed and compassionate when dealing with mental health issues.
Finally, to enhance the impact of this local partnership. Fitness World is donating a portion of their membership fees to HeadsUpGuys throughout the month of November. This financial pledge not only underscores their unwavering commitment to the cause, but also serves as a concrete illustration of the real-world impact that local partnerships can have to effect meaningful change.
Dr. John Ogrodnichuk, founder of HeadsUpGuys, professor of psychiatry at UBC and director of the UBC Psychotherapy Program, said: “We know that many men struggle in silence, especially during the winter season. Our research shows that the only thing that can help is what many men don’t like to do: ask for help. We hope through this partnership with Fitness World we can encourage men to reach out if they are struggling. Help is available and it’s okay to ask for it. We want men to know that they are not alone in this journey.”
HeadsUpGuys was born out of the realization that men’s mental health issues are often overlooked, which can have devastating consequences. Their online platform offers valuable information, guidance and self-help tools. It includes tips and articles that arm men with the tools they need to fight depression, as well as stories of recovery from men who have faced depression. In addition, HeadsUpGuys provides an international therapist directory to connect men with local mental health professionals.
Both organizations are committed to promoting this message of community and self-care, encouraging men to seek support and fostering a supportive community where mental health is discussed openly and without judgement. Together they aim to tackle the stigma of mental health issues amongst men during the winter months and promote the positive impact of fitness and movement.
For more information on Fitness World’s fitness offerings and programs, please visit https://www.fitnessworld.ca/
For mental health resources and support, visit HeadsUpGuys at https://headsupguys.org/
About Fitness World:
With 16 locations throughout the Lower Mainland, Fitness World is a high-value, low-cost gym committed to helping people achieve their fitness goals, whatever they may be. Exercise and movement play a key role in maintaining people’s overall health and well-being, and Fitness World’s mission is to provide inclusive spaces where communities feel supported and safe. The organization offers state-of-the-art fitness equipment, customized programs and countless amenities starting at just $9.99 per two weeks, providing high-quality fitness that is accessible to all. Visit fitnessworld.ca For more information.
HeadsUpGuys is a program of the University of British Columbia (UBC) under the direction of Dr. John Ogrodnichuk, who is Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Psychotherapy Program at UBC.
Our team of mental health clinicians, researchers, and advocates combine their expertise and personal experiences to bring you this unique resource. HeadsUpGuys is located on the UBC campus in Vancouver, on the traditional territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) people.
HeadsUpGuys, launched in 2015, is the world’s leading men’s mental health resource with over 4,000,000 visits from countries around the world. HeadsUpGuys’ operating expenses are funded exclusively through donations from the public.
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