Ben Smith knows how well exercise can be for your mental health.
He has been using the Bendigo Health's Exercise and Wellbeing Program for more than a year now and is happy to sing its praises.
"The sessions get me out of the house and are good for me," Mr Smith said.
"I feel like I am getting fitter. It's patients from Dual Diagnosis Unit (DDU) and Community Care Unit (CCU) all coming together which is really good."
The Exercise and Wellbeing Program is specifically designed for regional mental health patients and this year was the specific target of the Move for Mental Health Challenge fundraiser.
As a result, the 2023 challenge held in October raised $70,000 to support the program.
Since its inception in 2020, Move for Mental Health - a virtual fitness and fundraising challenge for all abilities - has raised more than $270,000 to improve wellbeing and recovery outcomes of mental health patients throughout the Loddon Mallee region.
Bendigo Health director of fundraising and foundation Rachel Mason said this year's challenge incorporated different elements, like the 24-hour treadmill challenge.
"We are delighted to have reached our target," she said.
"The community's support has created awareness and raised important funds for mental health patients."
Bendigo Health peer support worker James Long, who has been known to partake in a boxing session with Mr Smith, has seen first-hand the impact of the fundraising on patients.
Funds from last year's event funded a patient transport bus, allowing patients to attend specialised exercise programs.
"It has been fantastic to be able to use the patient transport bus with funds raised through the 2022 Move for Mental Health challenge year and to see people's wellbeing improve, thanks to these programs," Mr Long said.
To learn more about Move for Mental Health or to contribute, visit bendigohealthfoundation.org.au
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