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Successful first virtual meeting for Mind Body Boost

On 25th and 26th January 2021, Trinity College Dublin hosted the initial virtual planning meeting for the ‘Mind, Body, Boost’ project for the European project partners. The ‘Mind, Body, Boost’ project partners include Trinity College Dublin (project lead); National University of Ireland, Galway; University of Stirling, Scotland; University of Limerick; European University of Lisbon, Portugal; The Technical University of Munich (TUM), Germany; Vilnius University, Lithuania and ‘It’s Great Out There’ coalition, Belgium.

Mind, Body, Boost is a practical intervention programme and will be delivered by experts in sport and student counselling services. The programme uses the proven anti-depressant effects of exercise to prevent the development of serious mental health issues. The six-week custom designed fitness and mental programme will include mindfulness skills training, group inclusivity work, challenging physical activities and psychological support tools while also addressing societal issues of social isolation and stress management.

During the virtual planning meeting, ‘Outreach and Prevention Manager’ at Trinity’s Student Counselling Service, Chuck Rashleigh commented; “The ‘Mind, Body, Boost’ project is a classic example of a ‘social prescribing’ initiative. This is when a doctor or counsellor suggests someone do something active, like joining a club or picking up a hobby in order to help overcome their mental health problems. Our physical and mental health are connected, there is strong evidence that suggests exercise improves mental health by reducing anxiety, depression and negative mood by improving self-esteem and cognitive function. Exercise has also been found to improve sleep in college students, and to alleviate symptoms such as low self-esteem and social withdrawal.”

The ‘Mind, Body, Boost’ project has already been piloted successfully in Trinity College Dublin and the National University of Galway (NUIG) with third level students reporting that the project had positively impacted their lives. Students who reported beforehand that they had suffered from social isolation had now made friends and really enjoyed learning together in a group. Almost all students said that the project improved their motivation and confidence to engage in regular physical activity.

According to Lisa Cafferky, ‘Student Pathway Manager’ at Trinity Sport “almost all the students said the pilot project improved their motivation and confidence to engage in regular activity. They also found the psychoeducation and mindfulness aspects beneficial for stress management and their mental health. Students who take part can expect to see reduced social isolation, increased physical activity levels and an improvement in their overall health and wellbeing.”

The ‘Mind, Body, Boost’ project will be delivered in five phases over thirty-six months from September 2021. It will also be adapted to consider any future restrictions as result of the pandemic.

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