What is Depression?

Depression is a mental health disorder characterised by persistent low mood and a loss of interest in normal activities.

Depression can lead to significant impairment in the ability to undertake the activities associated with day to day living.

At Vista Healthcare, we offer professional Physiotherapy & Occupational Therapy to help those living with depression experience compassion and care, and work towards living their best life!

Role of Physiotherapy in Managing Depression

Physiotherapy is widely recognised for improving physical health, but it has also been shown to positively impact general wellbeing and mental health.

Physiotherapy and regular exercise can improve someone’s well being by:

  • Increasing motivation
  • Increasing energy levels
  • Improving sleep quality
  • Relieving muscle tension and pain
  • Improving self-esteem
  • Providing connection
  • Improving posture (and strength of postural muscles)
  • Improving physical capacity

Young woman suffering from headache in office

How does Physical Therapy For Depression Help?

Exercise releases chemicals in the brain which boost our mood.

A Physiotherapist can design a program which is typically a combination of evidence-based treatments for depression, whilst simultaneously including features to help the person towards their individual goals.

Please view the infographic to learn more.

What Type of Physio Might be Beneficial for People with Depression?

Unfortunately, the sedentary lifestyle and poor posture associated with depression can lead to the development of physical hindrances such as stiffness and pain.

Physiotherapy can help by offering a multifaceted approach, typically involving physical rehabilitation, but did you know Physiotherapists also help with:

  • Mindfulness coaching
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Hands on physical therapy (such as joint mobilisation or stretching programs)
  • Hydrotherapy (hydrotherapy provides a gentle way to exercise which can be very helpful in building endurance and relieving pain or muscle tension)

For some clients, depression is the result of chronic pain. In those cases, interventions focus on pain management in order to support better outcomes for the patient.

Depression Treatment FAQ

  • Do I need to see a counsellor, psychiatrist, or GP before contacting Vista Healthcare?


    You are fine to contact Vista at any point.

    If someone is experiencing depression, the most important thing to do is to reach out for support – we are here to give the community compassion and care.

  • Where can I access information and support for depression?

    There is great support available. Key organisations who can help are:

    • Beyond Blue
    • Headspace
    • Lifeline

    They can provide information, resources and support for those suffering from mental health conditions, and also for their carers.

  • Can Vista Healthcare educate someone about how to manage their mental health?

    When it comes to educating clients about how to manage mental health, there are two key areas to consider.

    The first is the role of mindfulness and relaxation, and the second is the role of exercise.


    At Vista Healthcare we have seen how much mindfulness can help with depression. It takes time to learn, but practicing mindfulness means people can relax themselves down and begin feeling better.


    We educate people around the benefits of exercise and how it can help them. We also help people to understand that exercise can be done in lots of different ways, to suit their needs. For example, if someone does not want to leave their house, an at-home program can be developed.

  • What is a patient-directed approach when treating mental health conditions?

    At Vista Healthcare our clinicians are experienced at helping people with mental health considerations. We understand how important it is to develop a program that is suitable – and achievable – for the individual.

    Our recommendations always take into account the client’s starting point and capacity.

    When we start with a new client, we get to know them as an individual. An initial assessment will include discussions about:

    • Current issues or challenges
    • Fears (and potential barriers to success)
    • Goals, priorities and preferences

    This enables us to develop a rehabilitation program that is right for them, and that is tailored to their individual needs. For example, while 30 minutes of exercise each day may be ideal, if this is not achievable straight away we will start with shorter sessions and then increase incrementally.

A Vista Healthcare Case Study on Depression and Anxiety

Client Background

Vista Healthcare has recently been helping a 40-year-old NDIS participant from Turramurra. This man was referred to us with a long history of severe depression and Schizophrenia.

His goals were wide-ranging and were primarily related to exercise levels, physical capacity, community access and management of his depression.


We undertook an initial assessment to obtain a baseline measurements. It was clear that the client had a significant fear of falling – he often felt unsteady and had become aware that his mobility was declining.


Our recommendations included an evidence-based exercise program to:

  • Build strength, balance and mobility for falls prevention
  • Improve physical independence in accessing the community
  • Gradually improve endurance for walking

A multidisciplinary approach was needed so our recommendations also included:

  • An Occupational Therapist to assess his mobility aid requirements
  • A community nurse for continence management
  • A Dietitian to organise healthy meal delivery


The client has reported that exercising has improved his mood and that he feels better after exercising.

He has made slow but significant progress, including an increase in confidence, walking pattern and duration, as well as cardiovascular endurance.

We look forward to helping him as he continues to achieve his goals.