Mental health unit receives friendly boost

Past president of Friends of India Australia, Shoba Deshikan, Friends of India General Secretary Mayasandra Sridhar, South Western Sydney Local Health District Mental Health Services Director Dr Claire Jones, Friends of India Australia secretary, Venkatesh Raghavendra and Liverpool Hospital Physical Health Coordinator Isabella Sierra.
Past president of Friends of India Australia, Shoba Deshikan, Friends of India General Secretary Mayasandra Sridhar, South Western Sydney Local Health District Mental Health Services Director Dr Claire Jones, Friends of India Australia secretary, Venkatesh Raghavendra and Liverpool Hospital Physical Health Coordinator Isabella Sierra.

A bike specially designed to assess cardiorespiratory fitness in mental health patients is one of the pieces of physical health assessment equipment on the way to the Liverpool Hospital Mental Health Unit courtesy of a $6000 donation by Friends of India, Australia.

The Liverpool-based community group focus on giving back to the community and providing a "good example" to younger generations."

Past President Shoba Deshikan organised the fundraising event where the money was raised.

"The Liverpool Hospital Mental Health Unit is very close to our hearts," Ms Deshikan said. "They provided wonderful support to one of the Friends of India families in their time of need."

The group presented their donation to South Western Sydney Local Health District Mental Health Services Director Dr Claire Jones last week.

Dr Jones said the ability to assess the physical fitness of mental health consumers will allow staff to better tailor exercise programs for consumers' needs.

"We know that people who suffer severe mental health issues tend to develop metabolic and cardiovascular disease," Dr Jones said.

"This can be because of their medication and from the effects of the mental illness itself."

The donation will also pay for a hand grip machine to measure strength, a scale with a capacity of 200-kilograms and a tape measure of up to 200-centirmetres.

Liverpool Hospital Physical Health Coordinator Isabella Sierra said: "First and foremost, we want to reduce the incidence of chronic illness such as cardiometabolic diseases. In the first instance, we will use this equipment to design a safe exercise program, then measure how effective the program is over time."