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ABC mental health campaign aims at increasing participation in social, recreational activities

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Here’s a men­tal health work­out that’s as sim­ple as ABC (The Con­ver­sa­tion):

While we take phys­i­cal work­outs very seri­ous­ly, there is much less said about the “work­outs” that help us remain men­tal­ly agile and healthy. But just as with phys­i­cal health, there are sim­ple and prac­ti­cal ways that can help every­one to enjoy good men­tal health.

…  By build­ing on research into what peo­ple can do to improve their men­tal health, we have devel­oped an “ABC” mod­el that can be eas­i­ly adopt­ed in every­day life. Known as “Act-Belong-Com­mit”, the approach pro­motes keep­ing active, build­ing stronger rela­tion­ships with friends, fam­i­ly and com­mu­ni­ty groups, and com­mit­ting to hob­bies, chal­lenges and mean­ing­ful caus­es … By encour­ag­ing peo­ple to fol­low these prin­ci­ples, as well as col­lab­o­rat­ing with com­mu­ni­ty groups that offer activ­i­ties and oppor­tu­ni­ties for social par­tic­i­pa­tion, the method – cur­rent­ly imple­ment­ed in Aus­tralia and Den­mark – seeks to bring about long-term ben­e­fits to men­tal health in pop­u­la­tions.”

The Study:

The pro­tec­tive prop­er­ties of Act-Belong-Com­mit indi­ca­tors against inci­dent depres­sion, anx­i­ety, and cog­ni­tive impair­ment among old­er Irish adults: Find­ings from a prospec­tive com­mu­ni­ty-based study (Exper­i­men­tal Geron­tol­ogy). From the abstract:

  • The Act-Belong-Com­mit cam­paign is the world’s first com­pre­hen­sive, pop­u­la­tion-wide, com­mu­ni­ty-based pro­gram designed to pro­mote men­tal health. The cam­paign tar­gets indi­vid­u­als to engage in men­tal­ly healthy activ­i­ties, while at the same time, encour­ag­ing com­mu­ni­ty orga­ni­za­tions that offer such activ­i­ties, to increase par­tic­i­pa­tion in their activ­i­ties. Using nation­al­ly-rep­re­sen­ta­tive data from Ire­land, the aim of this study was to prospec­tive­ly assess the asso­ci­a­tion between indi­ca­tors of the Act-Belong-Com­mit behav­ioral domains and inci­dent depres­sion, anx­i­ety, and cog­ni­tive impairment…The adjust­ed mod­el showed that each increase in the num­ber of social/recreational activ­i­ties (Act) inverse­ly pre­dict­ed the onset of depres­sion, anx­i­ety, and cog­ni­tive impair­ment. The same was the case for social net­work inte­gra­tion (Belong); that is, being well inte­grat­ed into social net­works was a sig­nif­i­cant pro­tec­tive fac­tor against all men­tal health out­comes. Final­ly, fre­quen­cy of par­tic­i­pa­tion in social/recreational activ­i­ties (Com­mit) sig­nif­i­cant­ly and inverse­ly pre­dict­ed the onset of depres­sion and anx­i­ety, while the pro­tec­tive effect against cog­ni­tive impair­ment was only mar­gin­al­ly sig­nif­i­cant.

The Study in Context:

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Categories: Cognitive Neuroscience, Education & Lifelong Learning, Health & Wellness

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