Leisure education for youth with a lived experience of mental illness, development of the FRESH [Fun Recreation Exercise and Skills for Health] program for a youth cohort in Western Sydney, Australia
Shah, Manali Hiteshkumar
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Mental health disorders account for a significant percentage of disease around the world, with the majority of these disorders developed during adolescence and early adulthood, 12-24 years of age. This period is marked by significant changes in life and in many cases, symptoms of mental illness can go underdiagnosed or seen as a somewhat normal response to this period of development. Poor mental health impacts many aspects of one's life and can lead to lower educational performance, domestic violence, substance abuse, alcohol addiction, and poor reproductive and sexual health. Some feasible and accessible therapeutic recreation interventions have been developed to promote leisure education within the community for youth experiencing and at risk of mental illness. Engagement and education surrounding leisure activities, leisure attitudes and promotion of a healthy leisure lifestyle may create opportunities for young adults experiencing mental illness to further their recovery. The following chapter will discuss the development and recommendations related to an innovative leisure and recreation treatment program termed Fun Recreation Exercise and Skills for Health (FRESH). This innovative leisure practice highlights elements of co-design and peer-to-peer instruction for a youth cohort in Western Sydney, Australia, targeting boredom and the development of a healthy leisure lifestyle in a community youth mental health context. The value of this case study for academic audiences highlights the developing evidence base for leisure-based interventions such as therapeutic recreation and leisure education. This case study highlights the significant need for research within the intersections of mental health, leisure and leisure education. Non-academic audiences such as mental health service providers, recreation service providers, and leisure professionals will benefit from this case study as it highlights the possibility of an innovative area of service provision that could be integrated within both clinical and semi-clinical environments that service youth populations.
Identifier (Other)DOI: 10.25316/IR-15280
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