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Walking Mental Illness

WORtH - a walking intervention to increase activity and reduce sedentary behaviour in people with serious mental illness

People who have a serious mental illness can sometimes die earlier in life than those without. The medications people take for their mental illness combined with an unhealthy lifestyle (e.g. not enough physical activity and too much sitting) can contribute to this. Walking is a good way to increase physical activity in the general population and may help people with serious mental illness to be more active. 

The WORtH study is a feasibility Randomised Controlled Trial (RCT), which will compare different ways of increasing physical activity and reducing sedentary behaviour in people with serious mental illness. We will invite people with schizophrenia, psychosis, bipolar disorder or major depression to take part in our study. The participants will be randomly split into two groups. One group will take part in a 17-week walking programme and the other group will receive information on the benefits of walking.  

If people with serious mental illness move more and sit less, it is expected their physical and mental health will improve. If we show this health research is feasible, we can plan to complete a large study to investigate the effectiveness of our walking programme in people with serious mental illness. 


Lead Contact:
Professor Suzanne McDonough, Ulster University