Finding Recovery through Exercise Skills and Hope
F.R.E.S.H. is an initiative of the Gerstein Crisis Centre, it uses a peer based model to support individuals dealing with mental health and addiction issues by focusing on recovery through physical activity, social engagement and community building. F.R.E.S.H. works to improve the recovery process by strengthening participant’s community connections, helping them get active, develop new skills and knowledge, building social connections and to have fun.
Some fitness activities offered include: Yoga, Gym Groups, Boxing, Ball Hockey, Boundless Adventure Camping, and Walking groups. Other activities offered are on a one-to-one basis where a F.R.E.S.H worker serves as a partner for physical activities.
Participation in the F.R.E.S.H. project is available to all past and present clients of the Gerstein Crisis Centre. The project is also available through our partnerships to residents at Houselink Community Homes, the Primary Support Unit (PSU), University Health Network Withdrawal Management Site and Edmond Place and Reconnect.
Because the program is peer based, F.R.E.S.H workers have lived experience and have navigated many of the issues participants are facing. They also have a passion for physical activity, education and social/ community involvement. Individuals dealing with mental health and substance use issues are often advised to incorporate “tools” other than medication into their treatment. F.R.E.S.H. helps individuals to discover what some of those tools can be. The F.R.E.S.H. project makes every effort to engage people at any level of participation from a walk once a week to employment as a F.R.E.S.H worker and connections to further recovery based endeavours.
Through our community partnerships with the ROM, AGO, Central YMCA, Bob Abate Community Centre, Boundless Adventures and Dufferin Grove Park; Gerstein Crisis Centre’s F.R.E.S.H. project offers over 25 recreation and social activities per week.