Dr. Guy Faulkner, Professor in the School of Kinesiology and head of the Population Physical Activity Lab, has received federal funding to study physical activity and its impact on mental health and depression.
While inactivity, in general, is of concern, it is even more troubling for individuals with mental illness such as depression. In Canada, one in seven will experience depression during their lifetime, and conventional treatments (e.g., psychotherapy & medications) are expensive and have limited appeal, reach and accessibility for many individuals with depression.
One of the most effective alternative interventions for mental illness is exercise, and Dr. Faulkner’s research aims to develop, assess, and evaluate exercise initiatives aimed at alleviating depression. To do so, Dr. Faulkner’s research will test novel strategies for delivering exercise interventions, including a mobile app-based intervention and referrals to structured and supervised exercise.
The end goal of Dr. Faulkner’s research will be to create and provide a blueprint for innovative, sustainable, and feasible physical activity strategies that can reduce the burden of depression. Dr. Faulkner explains, “I am very grateful for this funding to help me focus my research on physical activity and mental health. Sweat is the best antidepressant – this funding will allow me to examine how best to help with depression move more and more often”.
The Canadian Institute for Health Research’s (CIHR) Foundation Grant has awarded funding for the project ($533,768) with $63,381 provided by the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s John R. Evan Leaders Fund for equipment.
Dr. Faulkner joins 76 other researchers across Canada and eight other UBC researchers to receive a CIHR Foundation Grant. Foundation grants are designed to create a sustainable foundation for health research leaders by providing long-term support for the pursuit of innovative and high-impact programs of research.