Each year, approximately one in every five Australians will experience a mental illness, a statistic Australian Institute of Fitness graduate Eleni Psillakis thinks the fitness industry can play a significant role in reducing.
“My goal in the industry is to bring an understanding and break the stigma on mental health issues. Plus, show Fitness Professionals and their work can make such a huge difference,” said Eleni.
As a teenager, Eleni experienced the devastating impacts of excessive exercise and dieting, living with Anorexia Nervosa from ages 18-20. Similar destructive behaviour and thought patterns resurfaced as depression in recent years, but she has channelled her struggles into a fitness business with a difference. BrazenGrowth educates Personal Trainers about their role in the mental health equation, inspired by the role exercise played in Eleni’s personal experience.
“Personal Trainers are so often important parts of a team that includes allied health professionals like G.P’s and Psychologists, all involved in the recovery of someone with anorexia or depression. They also can often be one of the first people to notice a change in exercise patterns and so be a part of the solution for early intervention.”
Eleni began her fitness career with AIF’s Master Trainer course, and credits the study experience, not just the outcome, as an important part of her journey
“Studying with AIF gave me a focus during one of my most difficult periods of my life. It helped me develop a structure for my long term goals and achieve them in a way that was relevant, fun and meaningful. The staff, online tutors and face to face teachers probably had no idea how much their manner, teaching style and professionalism helped me to focus to gain my Master Trainer.”
Eleni is now a passionate advocate for the role of exercise in Australia’s battle against mental health, offering seminars and CEC courses that equip Fitness Professionals to make a difference.
If you are or know someone suffering from an Eating Disorder, we encourage you contact the Butterfly Foundation on 1800 33 4673.