Writing this week on the Huffington Post, David Brand – one of our personal trainers – noted the ways that poverty, mental illness and poor physical health intersect, arguing that people living with mental illness need much more than a simple instruction from their physician to “lose weight”. Instead, he suggested, people need “integrated programs that empower them to set specific health goals and then achieve those goals.”
We opened fitness centers in two of our buildings last year – Clover Hall in Brooklyn and Audubon Hall in Manhattan – and David has been running weekly individual and group sessions for us ever since. The centers, with stationary bikes and other equipment, are used by residents throughout the week and another of our consultants, Emily Sharp, leads weekly yoga sessions.
Around a third of our residents are living with depression and around one in six experience problems with substance use. Our Case Managers and Health & Wellness Coordinators work one-on-one with them to ensure that residents receive the medical care they need, but we agree with David that effective approaches to mental health need to address people’s lives as a whole. That’s why we’ve committed to providing enjoyable, effective programs on site in our buildings, bringing fitness to residents where they are and making is as easy as possible to get healthy.