The objective of this pilot study is to advance knowledge about how exercise may improve the mental and physical health of people with Severe Mental Illness (SMI). It is well known that people with SMI, in addition to their primary mental disorder, e.g., schizophrenia, suffer from anxiety and depression. It is also well-established that people with SMI have a dramatically shorter life-span from physical problems such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease. Exercise is one of the fundamental ways in which to improve health, and there is evidence that it provides both mental and physical benefits. However, it is difficult to get people with SMI to exercise regularly. This study will measure anxiety, depressed mood, exercise, and weight over a 6-month period to statistically determine how these are related in participants with SMI. The study will also report on participation and the feasibility of the exercise program in this population, with a goal of creating new knowledge about the benefits of exercise in patients with SMI, and to establish a basis for a larger more comprehensive study.
This is a prospective study with a six month participation period that includes: 1) baseline measures of demographics, psychiatric and medical history, weight, height, and vital signs, anxiety, and depressed mood; ongoing weekly measures of exercise participation and pulse rate; monthly repeated measures of anxiety, depressed mood, weight, and vital signs. All data will be collected and managed using a web-based health research platform, the John W. Brick Mental Health Foundation Portal, provided by mdlogix (Medical Decision Logic, Inc.). Self-report will be used to collected background data and data on mood, facilitated by the research team as needed. Height and weight will be entered by the research team, and participants will be provided with wrist devices to measure exercise participation and pulse rate. Consent will be obtained and documented using an on-line informed consent process, facilitated by the research team as needed. Study activities will be carried out at The Clubhouse on Franklin Street in downtown Baltimore, and exercise will be at the Brick Bodies Fitness Center three block away on South Charles Street. Research staff will be available by email and phone if participants have questions. The Portal will automatically send email requests to participants to complete the monthly follow-up questionnaire on anxiety and depressed mood. A rolling recruitment process will be used to engage participants over the first six months of the 12 month study period, and each participant will be asked to participate for a six month period from their start date. Focus group discussions will be held with participants to obtain qualitative feedback and suggestions.