Hundreds of residents from Hawkesbury, Blue Mountains, Penrith and Lithgow will gain the tools and resources to help them achieve small lifestyle changes and implement simple self-care practises through a free online course funded by Wentworth Healthcare.
The four-week digital self-care and wellbeing program is being offered to 320 residents from areas covered by the Nepean Blue Mountains Primary Health Network, who will develop 'greater resilience' to help them cope with the effects of drought, bushfires and COVID.
The program is being implemented by PA2Health with funding made possible by the Australian Government's 'Empowering our Communities' initiative.
The program uses SMS and simple chat-bot technology to gently encourage participants to improve their lifestyle by making small weekly changes in diet, activity and how they approach their health.
Daily guidance in stress and sleep management can also help participants suffering from stress and anxiety.
The team of experts who designed the program will be accessible to participants through a chat-bot and a private Facebook group.
PA2health is a small organisation with a vision to provide motivation and support to regional Australians while helping people improve their physical and mental health.
Food Coach and author Judy Davie - one of the founders along with Ginny Stevens of Active Farmers, Psychologist Alice Williams, and Mindfulness Coach Narelle Hunter - said the team had offered similar programs in drought- and bushfire-affected areas in South East NSW and Murrumbidgee with great success.
"The program seems to give people permission to help themselves for a change. People soon realise how much more they can do for others when they care for themselves first," Ms Davie said.
She emphasised that the four-week program did not focus on weight loss or becoming super-fit, but was about making simple lifestyle changes, and managing stress.
"It aims to help people experience for themselves that small, available changes towards self-care is the first step towards personal regeneration," Ms Davie said.
The program starts on October 12 and is available to the first 320 people who sign up. Go to www.pa2health.com.