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Aspria kicks off the new year with a timely discussion on solutions for positive mental health
Wellness group Aspria is concerned about all aspects of physical health. As the first premium sports club operator in Brussels, it has developed real expertise in offering facilities and activities that improve the wellbeing of its members.
Recognising the intrinsic link between body and mind, it delves into the current state of mental health with renowned local psychiatrist Dr Caroline Depuydt. In exploring solutions to boosting resilience, Aspria also outlines the valuable contributions of its clubs and specialist teams.
New Perspectives on Mental Health
The global COVID-19 pandemic has placed a spotlight on the importance of mental health. In the midst of rapid changes in economic, environmental and geopolitical conditions, coupled with the rise of groundbreaking technologies and our fast-paced lifestyles, Belgians find themselves grappling with mental health concerns.
Understanding the Landscape
Recent statistics from INAMI (2021) reveal a concerning trend: burnout has surged to the forefront of mental health issues, with a staggering 46% increase in cases as well as long-term depression. While those aged 50 to 64 remain the most affected, the most significant rise is among self-employed individuals aged 25 to 39, with a jaw-dropping 151% increase over the last five years.
Unpacking the Causes
Mental health problems are complex, stemming from a multitude of factors including genetics, biology, development, psychology, social influences, lifestyle choices and stress. Dr Depuydt emphasises that triggers can range from illness and accidents to work-related stress, social isolation and even minor events that exacerbate existing tensions.
Dr Depuydt advises leaning on one's support network when facing mental health challenges, with friends and family playing a pivotal role. Primary care physicians serve as the initial point of contact, guiding individuals towards specialists when necessary. Mental health professionals, such as psychologists and psychiatrists, are crucial for comprehensive care.
Embracing Innovative Approaches
The integration of psycho-corporeal methods is gaining popularity, blending psychotherapy with mindfulness meditation and physical activities like yoga and pilates. These holistic therapies emphasise the importance of balancing both body and mind, incorporating elements like nutrition and sleep in maintaining mental wellbeing. Stacy Jacques, Wellbeing Manager at Aspria Avenue Louise, highlights how their members are increasingly focusing on psychological fitness, diversifying their physical activities and utilising spa facilities for recovery. The team's expertise in nutrition further enhances the holistic approach.
The Power of Physical Activity
Regular physical activity has a profound positive impact on mental health - it enhances concentration, reduces stress and anxiety, boosts mood, and improves sleep quality. Dr Depuydt highlights the importance of self-compassion, encouraging individuals to engage in activities that support their wellbeing without guilt. Stacy echoes this sentiment, pointing out that physical activity should primarily be driven by self-care, contributing to a harmonious balance of physical and mental wellness.
Prevention Takes Center Stage
A recent study by the University of South Australia demonstrates that physical activity can reduce symptoms related to mental health problems by 43%, particularly depression, anxiety, and psychological distress. Brian Morris, CEO & founder of Aspria, reinforces this message at the OECD Health Forum, underlining the role of health in economic resilience. Aspria clubs offer a range of activities, wellness facilities, and co-working options, facilitating a well-rounded lifestyle and fostering a sense of community.
In conclusion, experts like Dr Caroline Depuydt and Aspria teams are committed to promoting mental wellbeing in our demanding world. As we navigate these challenges, embracing a holistic approach to mental health, encompassing physical activity, mindfulness, and self-compassion, can lead us towards a brighter, more balanced future.
Dr Caroline Depuydt is a psychiatrist and Deputy Medical Director at Espsylon (formerly La Ramée and Fond’Roy). She is also the author of two books "Bien dans ma tête grâce aux neurosciences" (Well in My Head Thanks to Neuroscience) and "J’arrête d’en faire trop !" (I Stop Overdoing It!).