This is Jim’s second admission to Blacktown Hospital’s Melaleuca Unit and this time he’s determined to transform his mental and physical health thanks to a new gym.
The Melaleuca Unit is a specialised rehabilitation unit that helps mental health patients who have been treated for serious conditions transition back into the community.
Jim, 23, was first admitted to the unit for treatment in February 2021 with the side effects of his medications causing tiredness, making it difficult to remain physically active.
As part of Jim’s treatment plan, he is now working out 30 minutes in the gym each day and has noticed some positive changes to his mental and physical wellbeing.
“I wanted to lose weight and improve my fitness but it also takes my mind off things,” Jim said.
Staff specialist Dr Anoop Sankaranarayanan said people with serious mental illnesses are more likely to gain weight and develop complications such as type 2 diabetes.
“Weight gain occurs during inpatient admission and having this equipment allows patients to use the gear to help improve their overall physical health,” Dr Sankaranarayanan said.
The Melaleuca Unit has transformed a space into a fit-for-purpose gym complete with a strength machine, CrossFit walking machine, punching bag, basketball ring and even Bluetooth wireless headsets so patients can listen to music or podcasts while working out.
“My favourite machine is the CrossFit because I can feel myself getting stronger when I lift more weights,” Jim said.
“I like using the equipment in this gym because I can work on my upper and lower body and build strength – I’m getting fitter.”
The new equipment is part of a program that aims to provide holistic care to patients and promote recovery in a healthier way.
“We want our patients to be motivated to change any unhealthy lifestyles and this equipment will help us achieve that,” Dr Sankaranarayanan said.
If you or anyone you know are experiencing mental health issues please contact your GP.
For mental health support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, please contact:
Lifeline on 13 11 14
Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511
Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800