Ife’s Story: Fighting Depression with Swimming Lessons

About Ife

Ife, 30 from Trumpington Cambridge was diagnosed with severe depression in Jan 2019. She was referred to the Active Lifestyle Team for exercise to help with her condition. Here she tells us how this Let’s Get Moving funded, Learn to swim programme has helped her.

“It is not too busy and it is a relaxed atmosphere and the session can be adapted to how you want it to be. I have something to look forward to every week on Mondays, where usually I would be indoors mostly. The swimming lessons helped greatly I didn’t have any confidence getting in to the pool or swimming and now I am more confident and it made me more active and wanting to go out for walks or just sit in the park”

Let’s Get Moving Swimming Lessons.

At the end of 2018 consultation was held with a group of patients using local services for people with severe mental illness about types of physical activities that would be of benefit to them.  Learning to swim was identified as the activity of choice:  Research shows that swimming can help alleviate depression and anxiety as does achieving realistic goals and learning something new. With this in mind we initiated the Let’s Get Moving- Free Swimming Lesson programme which is specifically for people living with mental ill health, who are unable to work due to their condition.

What changed?

January 2019:

  • Ife meets with her mental health professional.
  • Ife is referred for exercise to improve her health and Wellbeing.
  • Ife attends her first Swimming Lessons with support from her husband.
  • Ife is supported by the Active Lifestyles Team for her first session and keep in regular contact throughout her journey to offer support and find out how she is getting on with the lessons.

The difference

April 2019:

Increase in Activity: Ife is regularly attending the swimming lessons in addition she is getting out of the house for walks

Improved Confidence/Self efficacy: Ife is more confident about getting in to the pool on her own.

July 2019:

  • Ife is still enjoying the lessons and has learnt to swim.
  • Her mood has improved
  • Improvement in Mental Health
  • Increase in activity
  • Increased confidence
  • Gets outside uses local green spaces

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