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Sunday 23rd October 2016

Exercise for depression

8th February 2008

A new survey has revealed that GPs are "increasingly prescribing" physical activity for depressed patients.


The Mental Health Foundation surveyed 200 doctors in England. The study showed that 22% suggested physical activity to patients who had mild depression. This represents a significant increase from only 5% of doctors suggesting exercise, who were surveyed in 2005.

The survey also showed an increase in the number of family doctors who believed that physical activity can help depressed patients.

In 2005, 41% believed it was "effective or very effective". This increased to 61% in the new survey.

However 50% of the doctors surveyed said they were not able to access an exercise referral scheme, athough two thirds said they wanted to be able to.

One in six GPs said more patients had asked them about the potential benefits of exercise.

Research has proved that mildly depressed people can be helped by taking physical activity, as it can have a positive effect on self esteem.

The Mental Health Foundation is in charge of schemes, which receive funding by the Department of Health, which run in Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, London, Northamptonshire, Redcar and Cleveland, and the Wirral.

Personal trainers are available to people who are referred through the scheme,

Celia Richardson, campaigns director for the Mental Health Foundation, said: "It can help people physically, socially and biologically."

"They often meet others who have been in the same situation as them, but are now further down the line and feeling better."

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