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


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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As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters,  SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking how brain science can improve our health and our lives.

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