In a gym in the small outback town of Barcaldine, Queensland, a health revolution is underway – not just for the body but also for the mind.
Lina Life Fitness owner Halina Williams and personal trainer Kasey Schaepman are leading the charge. Drawing on her own experience of mental health challenges, Kasey is now helping others to strengthen their mental health and wellbeing.
‘The idea of the program was based on the movie Inside Out, which highlights all the little voices inside your head and the emotions we feel,’ says Kasey.
‘Our program is more about getting people to realise what they can do day to day with their mental health, so they don't get into a really crippling situation because of those little negative voices and emotions.’
Kasey and Halina developed the eight-week program with the help of Outback Futures, a not-for-profit organisation that delivers mental health and wellbeing services to remote Queensland communities.
‘I first heard about Outback Futures through the school with my kids. Both needed speech therapy. At the time we didn't have a speechie in Barcaldine, so the school referred us to Outback Futures, which was fantastic,’ says Kasey.
‘The second time I used them, my son had a lot of anger issues and, again, I was put on to a counsellor who worked with my son and myself to give him more tools in his toolbox to help him cope, which was invaluable. Within six months I had my son back. He was happy and he wasn’t ashamed to talk about it.’
Kasey’s third interaction with Outback Futures was when she was diagnosed with anxiety.
‘Not long after leaving one of my jobs, I found it very hard to cope day to day. I was hanging out the washing one day and I remember just feeling horribly nervous and couldn't focus or anything.’
Kasey’s doctor recommended she reach out to Outback Futures for help. It took her three weeks to find the courage to make the call. From then on, Kasey started connecting with her counsellor through online telehealth and face-to-face sessions.
‘I think the greatest thing about being connected with Outback Futures is I've found me again,’ Kasey smiles.
‘I've been able to become that happy mum and spend quality time with my kids without being cranky or sad or anxious about something and I'm enjoying life again. Before, I was always stressed or nervous.’
Little things, like practicing grounding activities and gratitude, played a big part in Kasey’s mental health recovery.
‘If I am a bit nervous or anxious about being out in a social environment, I know I can do my little grounding activities. No one's the wiser and I can find my confidence again.’
It’s tips and tricks like this that Kasey and Halina are now sharing with their clients at the gym through the Inside Out program. They’re noticing that participants are becoming more confident and willing to improve their mental as well as physical health.
‘It's not as hard as everyone thinks it is to go and get help. And you can live such a fantastic life with tools in your toolbox that you can use every day,’ Kasey says.
’I feel that anxiety is going to be my superpower and hopefully I can be a bit of a voice for others that are struggling to ask for help.’
Through its innovative Work In Work Out workforce model, Outback Futures’ multidisciplinary team provides consistent and accessible support to people, like Kasey, living in remote communities.
Designed in the bush for the bush, Outback Futures’ focus on allied health and community wellbeing is contributing to a stronger mental health and wellbeing future for the outback.