Physical activity and getting healthy

Exercise and physical activity is an important part of health and wellbeing.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare have released a report showing that, even a small increase in our levels of physical activity could have major positive health impacts. The report reveals that 2.6% of the disease in Australia was due to physical inactivity. That may seem a small percentage but the Institute say that when physical inactivity is combined with conditions such as obesity or being overweight, it then increases to 9%. That puts physical activity on the same level as tobacco smoking. And, as we all know, that is the leading disease risk factor in Australia.

Physical activity is linked to improved mental wellbeing. That is something that has been know for some time and the Australian report coincides with new American research shows that people might be starting to take note of this. The researchers at Michigan State University found that people with mental health issues want to use physical activity and want it to be part their mental health treatments. It looks like a case of the public becoming more aware of how important it can be to our overall health.

Research has shown how physical activity is effective against moderate depression and anxiety and regular activity is advised as one of the ways to help against it.

At Retreat South, physical activity is something we advocate for and even recommend regular sessions with our Exercise Physiologist when we work with you in developing your treatment plan. Exercise Physiology can help with your overall physical as well as mental health as well as being part of a holistic approach to your recovery.

Make the most out of Mental Health Week

Mental Health Week, the annual mental health awareness week is here again.  And World Mental Health Day takes place on October 10.

It has been reassuring that over the last years mental health awareness has been in the public arena for more than just one week in the year.

Being mindfull of our own wellbeing and the wellbeing of others should be something we think about often.  The figures are out there there to prove it. One in five Australians experience mental illness each year. That means over three million Australians from their teens to their eighties.

Mental Health Week has been a great way to kick start conversations about mental health and to open up ways of helping us better understand the range of issues that make up mental health problems.

It has been reassuring that over the last years mental health awareness has been in the public arena for more than just one week in the year. Being mindfull of our own wellbeing and the wellbeing of others should be something we think about often.  The figures are out there there to prove it. One in five Australians experience mental illness each year. That means over three million Australians from their teens to their eighties.

Mental Health Week has been a great way to kick start conversations about mental health and to open up ways of helping us better understand the range of issues that make up mental health problems. Depression and anxiety, alcohol and other substance addiction, Post Traumatic Stress, all of these can affect any one of us in different ways.  Sometimes there can be several convictions at the same time. Organisations have come into existence to help spread the word, provide resources and develop ways using social media and other new technologies to help people with mental health problems and their families, friends and communities.

Stigma surrounding mental health has been another issues that has come under the spotlight too. That has been a great help in understanding mental health. Businesses, community groups, schools, government bodies, local councils, so many individuals and groups come together during the week to show support and understanding and undertake to get abetter understanding too.

Check out the range of activities and resources available during Mental Health Week and help a friend, a family member, a colleague or even help yourself.


Sometimes talking about mental health issues is really difficult. Being able to talk to someone who may be experiencing mental health problems is really difficult.

Today, September 14, is R U OK? day. This is a day that encourages us to ask those difficult questions.

R U OK? is an organisation that sets out to helps ask other sometimes difficult question ‘are you ok?” That simple question has reached national, even international awareness and has empowered many people to meaningfully connect with others and offer support to family, friends, colleagues and so many others who may not be doing so well.

 Find out more about this worthwhile cause here.
By the way, R U OK?

Women take control of your wellness

“Women hold up half the sky,” Mao Tse-tung once said. The findings of an annual study into women’s health reveals that they could also be holding nearly half of Australia’s mental health problems.

The first week of September is Womens’ Health Week. Since it began in 2013, Womens’ Health Week has been a time to reflect on women’s health and wellbeing

The even coincides with the release of the important annual Jean Hailes Women’s Health Survey. This year’s survey shows that around 40 per cent of Australian women have been professionally diagnosed with depression or anxiety.

While men have been under the spotlight when it comes to better understanding mental health issues, we still need to keep the focus on womens’ mental health.

The concern is revealed in the survey findings. The two major obsticles for women not neglecting their health is lack of time. In fact nearly 30 per cent of the women surveyed said this. Over 20 percent said that health was not a priority.

We hope that during Womens’s Health Week, women, and men, in fact, all Australians, will take the time to think about their health and wellness and take that first step toward changing their lives for the healthier and better.

Friends with benefits: pets and other animals and wellbeing

Pets and other companion animals are just that, they can provide great companionship. Many studies have shown that. Some have pointed out the benefits to the pet owner’s physical and mental health. Lover stress levels, better heart health as well as other positives.

Owning a pet can provide better socialising with family and friend too. People who feel the benefit and support their pets give them have also been shown to feel greater closeness to and support from family members and friends. People with a dog can also fin that talking it for walks becomes an ice-breaker as people will often comment on the dog and, in turn, meet its owner.

People with pets have experienced a variety of benefits like improving their social life and even improving their mood, personality and even self-esteem.

Owning a pet can even be like having a live-in therapist. Many pet owners talk to their pets, often talking about their own problems. A devoted pet has all the time in the world for you and will sit by as you talk. As the basis of good therapy is to be a good listener, you companion animal is a kind of therapist.

If your pet companion is all this to you and more, the last thing you would want is to leave them behind if you needed to be away.

That is why Retreat South is pet friendly. We know the value of pets. Set in rural environment with pets and farm animals including sheep, dogs, chickens and even a very friendly Highland Angus steer, Animals can be an important part of your recovery.

Get well in a garden

The gardens and natural, open spaces at Retreat South can have a beneficial effect on you mental health.

One of the most attractive features of Retreat South are the gardens and natural bushland settings.  The andscape is attractive on the eye and pleasant to experience in all seasons.  Research has shown that gardens and other open, natural spaces can have a positive effect on our mental wellbeing.  Our mental wellbeing might have even been influenced by gardens. Research also shows that children’s mental development is better when they have access to gardens to play in.

Gardens also provide a healthier climate.  With the reduction of garden spaces in houses over the last few decades, the climates in those neighbourhoods has increased causing negative effects on physical health too.  People living in cities, where there is less opportunity to access gardens and parkland have been shown to experience often serious mental health problems. People living in cities have been shown to be over a third more at risk of mood disorders like depression and over twenty per cent more likely to experience anxiety disorders compared to people living in the country.

At Retreat South, you are surrounded by cultivated gardens and natural bush landscapes. They provide a feeling of privacy, serenity and healthiness. Part of your daily routine will always include opportunities to spend some time in them.












Men and Mental Health

Mens’ physical and mental health often comes under the spotlight. Australian males been shown to have poorer health than Australian females. Men also are among the most like to develop problems with alcohol and other drugs.

To make matters worse, men are less likely than women to visit health professionals. Although there has been some welcome changes over time with women entering traditionally male dominated workplace roles, some areas are still male-dominated.

The construction industries, for example. There is a largely male-dominated industry. And the interesting thing is that, men in construction are less less likely to seek help, particularly for mental health problems as it is still considered to be a sign of weakness. In fact, some of the stresses of being in exactly that kind of environment can be a cause of mental health problems.

Health professionals are really trying hard to reverse that. In recent years, mental health issues such as addiction have become recognised as social issues rather than purely health issues. The change in attitude towards depression has caused a turn-around in how we consider this all too common mental health prolem.

Attitudes toward men’s mental health should be treated in the same way. Issues like family tensions, workplace stress are included in the way we think about health and wellbeing. Mental health care is adapting to men’s unique needs. Like many health professionals, at Retreat South we pride ourselves on creating a care and recovery program that assists everyone. Our treatment team have extensive experience in working with men as well as a diverse range of people.

We create a safe environment for all kinds of people and work toward taking back control of their lives under many and varied conditions. Our therapies range from psychology to meditation and exercise physiology so your physical wellbeing becomes part of your recovery.

Call today on +61 3 5568 4155 and talk to us about how we can help you find a solution to your unique situation.

Taking time out for your wellbeing

Perhaps you saw it in a news thread. The woman who messaged her workplace to say that she was taking a couple of days of to focus on her mental wellbeing? It would be surprising if you didn’t hear about it because her message, and more importantly, her boss’s response went viral.

“I’m taking today and tomorrow to focus on my mental health,’she wrote. “Hopefully I’ll be back next week refreshed and back to 100%.”

The company CEO saw the message and replied; “You are an example to us all, and help cut through the stigma so we can all bring our whole selves to work.”

The change in attitudes toward mental health problems means that more people might be able to do this. A lot of people are doing that already. Figures show that one in every five Australians took time off in the 12 months for reasons of their mental health issues.

Not all mental health problems can be fixed by just talking time away from work. We all know that if we are sick and just take sick leave, it doesn’t mean we will get well. The same applies to mental health. If you take time out, it might be necessary to use that time for an intensive course of therapy.

Retreat South can offer that. We work with you from the moment you contact us to put together a treatment that is tailored to your situation.

So, if you are thinking talking some time out for your mental wellbeing, think of spending it at Retreat South.

Effective treatment does not end with detox

The number of Australians seeking help for amphetamine addiction is on the rise. Amphetamine use has already become one of the major mental health problems but it is a problem that is increasing rather than decreasing.

A new report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) released last week revealed about 134,000 Australians had received drug treatment in 2015–16. That is around 1 in 180 people. About 30% were for alcohol but amphetamine use has more than doubled, going from.

Although alcohol treatment has decreased and cannabis treatment has remained unchanged, in the last five years amphetamine use has soared from 11% to 23%.

The AIHW say that alcohol remains the most common drug people seek treatment for but a growing proportion are seeking treatment due to amphetamine use.

The actual number of treatment episodes for amphetamines rose from around 16,900 in 2011–12 to 46,400 in 2015–16. That is a 175% increase.

The report points to males as continuing as more likely to seek treatment than females and there is a higher instance of older Australians seeking treatment. people aged over 40 now make up one-third of those in treatment.

In the last decade, counselling continues to be the treatment most often sought.

Counselling and withdrawal management are important aspects of psychotherapy for treating addiction.

Effective treatment does not end with detox. Therapy takes us on that next step of avoiding relapse. Relapse can come about through ‘triggers’ and particular situations, events of behaviours can trigger relapse to deal with them. The importance of counselling in addiction treatment is to identify those triggers and develop ways of overcoming the trigger and deal with other negative emotions that can cause a relapse.

The AIHW report showed that the majority of people can complete treatment within three weeks. Not all treatments can be timed like this. It depends of the drug. The AIHW say it can vary from about two weeks for a substance like for cannabis to 39 days for heroin.

The important thing is that, to successfully overcome addiction, treatments need to involve psychotherapy to ensure a better chance of long-term recovery.

Rehab – Making addiction recovery work for you

Addiction is something that can be part of a complex set of issues. ‘Rehab’ or recovery from something so complex takes time.

Many people have looked back on their recovery treatments and found that a major difficulty was recovery that rehabilitation program sometimes last less than two weeks.
Recovery from addiction can be a difficult thing.

Many people need to plan a long-term recovery. At Retreat South, our treatment programmes are designed with your special needs in mind. We develop a treatment plan for you where our multi-disciplinary team bring their particular skills to help you on your path to recovery.

Because addiction can damage us emotionally and mentally as well as physically our multi-disciplinary approach helps strengthen you emotionally and mentally and physically.

Physical therapy is increasingly beneficial as a compliment to traditional psychology. The negative effects of addiction on bodies, physical therapy and exercise helps you feel stronger during recovering. It’s the same as the psychotherapy is making you mentally stronger.

Yoga and meditation teach you skills to relax and use the power of your mind to address stress and other things that act as ‘triggers’ which may have been treated with harmful alcohol and other substances. Another aspect of your physical recovery is diet. Your well-planned, nutritious meals feed your recovering body.

Taking time-out and committing to a longer recovery period. Learning healthy living practices, along with your traditional therapy can make you stronger, healthier and more in touch with yourself as you move through recovery.