By Jess Henderson, Exercise Physiologist.

Liptember is a campaign dedicated to raising funds and awareness for women’s mental health by starting the conversation off, by popping a little colour on. 

This September, you can register online and seek sponsorship from family and friends to raise funds for the Centre for Women’s Mental Health, Lifeline, Batyr, RUOK?, The Jean Hailes Foundation and The Pretty Foundation. 

Why is this important? 

Reducing the burden of mental health conditions is important in both women and men. Liptember focuses on improving the mental health of Australian women, subsequently improving the overall well being of our community. 

Mental illness is a general term that refers to a group of conditions, these include depression, anxiety, schizophrenia and eating disorders to name a few. People living with mental health challenges can also experience homelessness, poverty, isolation, poor physical health leading to chronic conditions, unemployment and stigmatisation. 

One of the most prevalent mental health conditions within the community is depression, this is not only the most common mental health problem among women but may be more persistent in women than in men. However, more research is needed with regards to gender differences. 

The focus on women’s mental health aims to build evidence on the cause of mental health problems to improve prevention strategies, promote and implement health policies that address women’s needs, and to enhance primary health care to recognize and treat mental health consequences of domestic violence, sexual abuse and acute or chronic stress. 

How does exercise fit in with this?

  1. Individuals who participate in regular physical activity are less likely to experience symptoms of depression and less likely to experience future depressive episodes, some studies are suggesting that exercise is just as effective, if not more than pharmacological interventions in alleviating depressive symptoms. 
  1. Exercise also counteracts the side effects of medications by aiding in the maintenance of body weight, blood pressure and reducing the risk of falls. 
  1. Australians living with mental illness are 2-3 times more likely to suffer from diabetes than the general population. Exercise is crucial in the management of chronic diseases, including Diabetes.

Common mental health conditions that are seen in women:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Body dysmorphic disorders
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Depression
  • Eating disorders
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Postpartum depression
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

How do I start an exercise program?

This is where we come in. Talking to your GP about an exercise program that suits your preferences will lead you onto the path of an Allied Health professional like Exercise Physiologists to design and deliver an exercise and lifestyle intervention that takes into account your goals and circumstances.

How to get involved with Liptember? 

Step 1- Purchase a Liptember lipstick from Chemist Warehouse, My Chemist or My Beauty Spot Store.

Step 2- Register online https://www.liptember.com.au 

Step 3- Rock that lippy through September and support the women in your life!