New Mental Health Programme for Physiotherapists Now Online!

The new 4 course Mental Health  Programme has been made available on Physioplus today to mark World Mental Health Day.

I’m super-stoked about what is going on in the field of Mental Health worldwide in various disciplines! Just for you we boiled down all of this excitement into 4 new Mental Health courses which explore the following themes: 

  1. Foundations of Mental Health
  2. Physical Activity as an Evidence-Based Prescription for Mental Health
  3. Lifestyle and other important Factors for Mental Health
  4. Trauma and the Impact on Body, Mind and Psyche

The 4 course mental health programme is best completed in series but each can be done separately. The full programme will enable you to understand the complexity of mental health issues on various levels, and to develop effective and sound stand-alone or adjunctive physical therapy treatment approaches within an interdisciplinary team.

You and your patients will benefit from this knowledge, no matter your clinical specialism as mental health disorders and symptoms manifest even in mild forms in all diseases and disorders.

The foundations of mental health course

Mental Health in physiotherapy is everyone’s business!

Physiotherapy in mental health (MH) is a specialty within physiotherapy. In 2011 a new milestone in the field of Physical Therapy was set: The WCPT recognised the International Organisation of Physical Therapists in Mental Health (IOPTMH) as a professional subgroup. Dr. Michel Probst from the University of Leuven is the president of the IOPTMH, he has been a mental health PT since 1978, and in 1990 he joined a team researching eating disorders which led further to his PhD. He is a real pioneer in Mental Health and Physiotherapy and will share a lot of valuable knowledge in our interview for the first course section ‘Foundations of Mental Health in Physiotherapy’. Physiotherapy in MH is implemented in different health and mental health settings, psychiatry and psychosomatic medicine and is based on the available scientific and best clinical evidence. 

One of the world’s most recognised  contributors to the increasing scientific evidence regarding physical activity and mental health conditions is the physical therapist and researcher Dr. Brendon Stubbs from King’s College London. In our interview for the second course section ‘Physical Activity as an Evidence-Based Prescription for Mental Health’ he provides information about the latest evidence regarding severe mental health disorders and the effects of physical activity as well as insights into his practical work as a clinician with imprisoned patients. You will learn about Brendon’s and his worldwide colleagues’ outstanding work and their impact on international treatment guidelines in MH. We will also explore practical exercise-recommendations for specific mental health problems and important skills for health professionals working in MH.

What led me, Andrea Sturm, a physiotherapy clinician and educator, to creating this Mental Health Online Programme? I must confess it’s a project of the heart, Mental Health in all its manifestations was present in my life from a young age. I was grew up with a severe mentally ill mother and personally experienced a huge trauma later in my adult life. I am continuously learning about psychiatric and psychological theories plus practicing related treatment approaches for over 20 years.  It would not be an exaggeration to say that I know mental health disorders inside-out.

In section 3 I will introduce you to ‘Lifestyle and other Important Factors for Mental Health’ , sharing personal experiences about how to successfully cope with mental health problems based on lifestyle changes and physical activity, arising hurdles, the stigma and how to make use of available resources. You will get an inside view for a better understanding of the diverse processes your patients might go through. In particular you will learn about the helpfulness of Antonowsky’s Salutogenic Model of Health for strengthening an affected person’s resilience and making use of available internal and external resources.

There is no health without Mental Health

How does physical health interrelate with mental health, and what might has trauma to do with it? How could this affect the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS), Heart Rate Variability (HRV) and the gut’s microbiome? And what effects has exercise on these changes? You will begin to explore this in the third course of our programme ‘Trauma and the Impact on Body, Mind and Psyche’. The Munich based Psychology Professor, Dr. Franz Ruppert will introduce us into his concept of Identity oriented Psychotrauma Theory (IoPT), which is very useful when working with patients or survivors of different kinds of trauma. Learning about his concept what happens in a traumatised person’s psyche helps you to better understand their survival strategies, how to strengthen their healthy parts and to support their traumatised parts. For example, survival strategies could manifest in unhealthy behaviours or traits, causing other or additional health problems in the long run. There are many more pioneers and experts in this field, such as Dr. Stephen Porges and Dr. Bessel van der Kolk. We will explore their work as well. 

You won’t regret joining the course(s) and I look forward to meeting you in our discussion forums!

The mental health programme of courses

Don’t forget Physiopedia also has a lot of excellent and free content to offer in the Mental Health Category.