A natural connection for a healthy community.
Mentis Assist has welcomed the launch of a community partnership with Peninsula Hot Springs on 15th March 2017, as an exciting opportunity to work hand-in-hand with one of Australia's major health and wellness centres. The two organisations share a common goal to improve mental health and wellbeing of the Mornington Peninsula community.
It is estimated that 45 per cent of people on the Mornington Peninsula will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime. In any one year, around one million Australian adults have depression, and over two million have anxiety.
Mentis Assist is a Mornington Peninsula community mental health support organisation, providing specialised mental health support in the region, with a mission of "enabling opportunity for people living with mental illness and/or complex needs to enjoy a meaningful life by strengthening self-identity, personal responsibility and hope."
Mentis Assist CEO, Terry Palioportas said: "We're excited to expand our reach through the partnership and assist more individuals on their road to better mental health."
"With our common goal to improve mental and physical wellbeing, we aim to improve access to services and increase awareness about how to get help."
"Peninsula Hot Springs' soothing, meditative environment combined with Mentis Assist's specialist knowledge and community programs work hand-in-hand," Mr Palioportas said.
Peninsula Hot Springs founder and CEO Charles Davidson described the partnership as "a natural connection, one which we hope encourages all health and wellness tourism operations to further consider their place in and contribution to their region".
"Hot springs bathing is an experience that is enjoyed by people of all ages and all cultures and as such it provides a unique opportunity of connection at a personal, family, friends and community level," Mr Davidson said.
"At Peninsula Hot Springs we measure and define our success as a major health and wellbeing destination by the opportunities we create for people to connect with the environment, each other, their community and themselves."
"The partnership with Mentis Assist enables us to support the important work they do in our community; to raise awareness of the significant mental health issues in our region and country; and to learn how we are able to do more for those affected by mental health conditions," Mr Davidson said.
Peninsula Hot Springs is Australia's largest commercial geothermal mineral springs destination, employing over 260 people on the Mornington Peninsula and attracting more than 440,000 visitors each year. Now in its 12th year of operation, Peninsula Hot Springs has more than 30 pools and bathing experiences which Mr Davidson described as, "opportunities for visitors and locals to take time out from their busy lives to slow down, relax and enjoy a moment to themselves, to nature and to the ones they love and enjoy”.
"Through the partnership with Mentis Assist we are able to work together to build resilient connected communities and further deliver the core purpose of Peninsula Hot Springs; to create experiences where people relax in nature and connect with the deep well of their being," Mr Davidson said.
In July 2015 Peninsula Hot Springs began its community engagement initiative with a specific focus on mental and physical health "and how we are able to help build a better place in which to live”, Mr Davidson said.
The community engagement initiative has also seen Peninsula Hot Springs partnerships created with MOVE muscle, bone & joint health (formerly known as Arthritis & Osteoporosis Victoria) and Mental Health Australia.
Initial Mentis Assist and Peninsula Hot Springs partnership projects include creating wellness days and activities for Mentis Assist clients and community members affected by mental ill-health. These sessions will include mindful activities such as yoga, meditation, physical activities such as walking or bike riding all combined with hot springs bathing experiences.
Mentis Assist will also provide mental health training to Peninsula Hot Springs senior staff members. This training will help the team members become more aware of co-workers behavior who may be showing signs of suffering and how to approach these situations.
The partnership will work to reduce stigma by hosting collaborative events such as RU OK Day, World Mental Health Day events and mental wellbeing and happiness forums.
The partnership project’s aims also include further supporting collaborative research to investigate the therapeutic benefits of hot springs bathing for medical conditions including stress, anxiety, depressions and insomnia, building on 2017 published research conducted at Peninsula Hot Springs.
The research into balneotherapy – hot springs bathing - suggests there is significant relief for people with depression, anxiety and insomnia. Published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Tourism Research, the research involved a study of 4,265 Peninsula Hot Springs visitor survey respondents by the RMIT School of Health and Biomedical Sciences. Findings included:
- Of the 11% of survey respondents reporting stress/anxiety, 89% reported relief
- Of the 5% of survey respondents reporting depression, 71% reported relief
- 82% of respondents reported better sleep after hot springs bathing with 62% of those who reported much better sleep stating that the effect lasted for 2 days or longer.
- 77% of respondents with insomnia reported they experienced relief (35% significant and 42% slight)
Of those with depression, 71% rated their condition as ‘severe’ (health practitioner treatment required) with 34% of those rating hot springs bathing as providing ‘significant relief (lasting 2 days or more and/or reduces reliance on other treatments), and 37% rating ‘slight relief’ (lasts less than 2 days and does not change other treatments).
Mentis Assist and Peninsula Hot Springs will meet regularly to further develop projects and strategies to build on the partnership.