Mental Health Education and Awareness for Fitness Professionals: Introducing IHRSA

It is widely accepted that there is a direct, positive relationship between exercise and the management of stress, happiness, and mood. However, the benefits of exercise for people that have mental health challenges like anxiety, depression, and or substance use disorder are less well-known. 

Since part of our goal is to educate people about the evidence for exercise/movement and mental health, the John W. Brick Mental Health Foundation gave a grant to the IHRSA Foundation to provide an opportunity to study this relationship and to help educate fitness professionals on how they can be more aware of and attend to mental health in fitness settings and the community.

Our partnership with the IHRSA Foundation on their project entitled “Mental Health Education and Awareness for Fitness Professionals” can be boiled down to four parts:

  • A baseline survey of fitness professionals, assessing their current knowledge
  • Developing an educational toolkit to be used in an educational and awareness campaign
  • Disseminating educational and awareness materials across the field
  • A follow-up survey to find out how the campaign worked. 

To date, the baseline survey and toolkit have been completed and the whole project is expected to be completed in June of 2022. The survey was completed by 701 fitness professionals. The final survey will measure the impact and efficacy of the campaign and resources on attitudes, awareness, and motivation to address mental health among fitness industry professionals.

The John W. Brick Mental Health Foundation would like to thank IHRSA for its hard work!  

Please find the toolkit for fitness clubs and professionals here, and keep an eye out for the “Mental Health Education and Awareness for Fitness Professionals” results in June!