Recreation & Leisure


Reports on several recent Temple University Collaborative research initiatives to promote integrated recreational programming for those with mental illnesses, with guidelines for policy, program, and practice changes, with recreational therapists in mind.

ParkRX: Connecting Health Goals to Park Participation

Parks are an important health resource for communities! Increasingly, health providers are adopting ‘park prescription’ or ParkRx programs to emphasize the impact nature, physical activity, and park participation can have on one’s health. However, there are not many examples of park prescription programs encouraging individuals who experience mental health conditions to engage in their local parks. In fact, given the high rates of sedentary behavior and isolation experienced by this population, parks may be even more important for individuals with mental health conditions. This document is a ParkRx tool that can be used by either park professionals or mental health professionals to support individuals with mental health conditions to identify health goals, explore park interests, and connect these to community opportunities.



Family Leisure Planning and Covid-19

Engaging in family leisure activities outside of the home, like going to see a movie or going to a sporting event, has been difficult during the pandemic. At the same time, family leisure has never seemed so important! Our new document, Family Leisure Planning and Covid-19, shares information about the benefits of engaging in family leisure as well as resources for planning memorable activities at home! 



Independence Through Community Access & Navigation: A Supported Leisure Intervention – Facilitators’ Training Manual

Leisure is an important area of community participation. In fact, our own research indicates that individuals with mental illnesses identify participation in leisure activities as important and many would like to participate more frequently. To address this need, we developed the Independence through Community Access and Navigation (ICAN) intervention. This supported leisure intervention uses the Individualized Placement and Supports model to promote participation in community-based recreation and leisure. This training manual is designed to support mental health professionals interested in implementing the ICAN intervention and features: 1) overview and benefits of community-based recreation participation; 2) factors to consider when supporting community-based recreation; 3) implementation strategies; and 4) case examples.

Leisure Education Toolkit for Parents with Mental Illnesses

Leisure participation is important for the development of healthy family relationships. This toolkit is an evidence-based guide that will help parents better understand the importance of family leisure and develop strategies to participate in meaningful family leisure. Research on the need for family leisure, potential benefits, and strategies to increase participation are presented. This user friendly guide provides worksheets and activities that parents can use with their children to make the most out of family leisure. For individuals who want to receive additional support, each section also provides an opportunity to summarize goals and issues that can be shared with a mental health professional. Download now to learn more about: (1) the benefits of family leisure; (2) core and balance family leisure; (3) strategies to assess family leisure interest; (4) barriers to and facilitators of family leisure; (5) planning and making time for family leisure; and (6) using leisure to talk with your kids about mental illnesses.


Family Leisure Calendar 

It’s January 2018! You know what that means. Resolutions! The time when many people think about goals for the upcoming year. Many people have health & wellness goals at the beginning of the year but end up less motivated as the year goes by. You know how it is, gyms are full the second week of January, but less busy in February. What if those goals were connected to something fun?! And gave you more opportunities to spend time with those you love?

We want 2018 to be different! Setting and achieving family leisure goals can improve the mental and physical well-being of individuals with lived experience, their family members, and even mental health providers. This calendar can help you set and stick to your goals. Designed to help you think about family leisure differently, this calendar will challenge you to identify activities that you enjoy, find free or low-cost resources in your community, and identify people who will help you stay motivated to achieve your goals.

We encourage family friendly recreation facilities to put this calendar up in the lobby to remind patrons that family leisure has positive impacts on your body, mind, and spirit. We hope mental health agencies will use this calendar to motivate consumers and staff to make family leisure a priority. Finally, we hope consumers interested in family leisure will keep this calendar handy and share it with friends and family to make leisure fun and a part of daily life.

Yoga and Your Health 

Doing yoga may be helpful to individuals experiencing symptoms of depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia. However, it can be difficult to know how to get started with yoga. This fact sheet describes the benefits of yoga, how to begin and develop your own yoga practice, and how to find affordable classes in your community.


Adding Recreation to your Coping Toolbox: An 8-Week Protocol

During the spring 2016 school semester, two recreation therapy interns worked with the Temple University Collaborative to develop and facilitate programming aimed at increasing community participation for consumers of local mental health agencies. Each intern developed an 8-week protocol with a focus on encouraging participation in community-based recreation. Interns were encouraged to create group sessions that would work either as stand-alone sessions or as 8 consecutive weekly sessions. This project was done under the supervision of a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) at the Temple University Collaborative and staff at the sites where the sessions were delivered.

Adding Recreation to your Coping Toolbox: An 8-Week Protocol series encourages participants to identify personal coping strategies and community-based resources needed to engage. This protocol was designed to support consumers to identify coping strategies that minimize stress and conflict after discharge from a short-stay, inpatient facility.

Hosting Activity Fairs: Our Experience

In fall 2015 and spring 2016, the Temple University Collaborative hosted two wellness fairs focused on encouraging community based recreation. These fairs aimed to: 1) introduce Philadelphians to free and low cost activities they could do in their city, and 2) encourage local businesses and organizations to consider ways they could become more welcoming of this population. This short document summarizes our experiences with hosting these fairs. Additionally, we developed a handbook to help others to run a similar event. You can find this handbook here. While this handbook is designed to assist you as you plan to organize a Physical Activity Community Access Fair, it is assumed that many events rely on similar structure and planning, therefore this handbook might serve as a helpful resource as you plan other types of events that promote community inclusion as well.

Physical Activity Fair Manual

This handbook is the outcome of a Physical Activity Fair that was hosted in Philadelphia, and the lessons learned about hosting this type of event. The mission of our Physical Activity Fair was to connect people with serious mental illnesses to sustainable resources for physical activity, who have a life expectancy that is up to 30 years less than the general population often due to modifiable behaviors.

While this handbook is designed to assist you as you plan to organize a Physical Activity Fair, it is assumed that many events rely on similar structure and planning, therefore this handbook might serve as a helpful resource as you plan other types of events that promote community inclusion as well.

Assessing Health Outcomes of Community Integration Interventions: The role of Recreational Therapy in Behavioral Health

Facilitating activities that promote community participation is not new to recreational therapy; however, we have not always been successful in documenting and communicating the health benefits of recreation participation. While participation is often associated with increased quality of life and satisfaction, it is important for recreational therapists to assess clinical outcomes that may also be associated with increased community participation. For individuals with psychiatric disabilities, these outcomes may include physical activity, negative symptoms, cognition, community participation, and recovery. This session described relevant assessment measures that can be used pre and post intervention to track changes in order to help practitioners consistently address targeted outcomes throughout the treatment process, including assessment, goal development, intervention implementation, documentation, and discharge planning.

Motivational Interviewing Techniques RTs can use to Encourage Independent, Community-Based Recreation Participation in People with Psychiatric Disabilities

Motivational interviewing is a therapeutic communication technique used to help consumers internalize their motivation to change. This technique was originally developed to help individuals with substance use disorders. Recent evidence suggests this tool can be used with diverse populations to increase motivation towards behavioral change. A foundational tenant of motivational interviewing is that all clients are the experts on themselves and have the ability within themselves to change. Therefore, the role of recreational therapists is to elicit internal motivation for change, help identify personal and sustainable resources and strategies that promote lasting change. This session provided an overview of the purpose and benefits of motivational interviewing, as well as specific strategies recreational therapists can use to help individuals with psychiatric disabilities identify personally meaningful recreation goals and work towards lifelong engagement within the community.

Beginning a Walking Program: Consumers

Beginning a walking program fact sheets provide consumers with a resource that details how to start a walking program, such as the benefits of walking, what to wear while you’re walking, how much you should walk, and goals/motivations.

Beginning a Walking Program: Providers

Beginning a walking program fact sheets provide providers with a resource that details how to start a walking program, such as the benefits of walking, what to wear while you’re walking, how much you should walk, and goals/motivations.

Family Leisure Toolkit

The Family Leisure Toolkit is a resource that can be used to educate you and provide ideas on how to jump-start your leisure lifestyle as a family. This toolkit presents information about the benefits of various types of family recreational activities, suggestions for activities and includes a guide to planning activities. While reviewing the toolkit, we encourage you to consider how family leisure activities can be used to build strong bonds and to enhance overall health and well-being.

Enhancing Family Leisure Factsheet: Consumer

 This fact sheet provides consumers with a resource that defines family leisure and explains the various types of leisure and their benefits. It also provides readers with an opportunity to learn about initiating conversations about family leisure and explains why participating in family leisure is important.

Enhancing Family Leisure Factsheet: Provider

Enhancing Family Leisure fact sheet provides providers with a resource that defines family leisure and explains the various types of leisure and their benefits. The fact sheet provides readers with an opportunity to learn about initiating conversations about family leisure and explains why participating in family leisure is important.

ICAN PLAY Leisure Manual

We have developed a 68-page manual intended to promote community-based activity participation among consumers. The manual includes information related to the importance of leisure and lists free to low-cost opportunities available in Philadelphia. This booklet is intended to encourage readers to get involved with their leisure interests and start living their best life today. An active leisure lifestyle can enhance physical health and mental strength. It can enhance spiritual wellness and provide a sense of meaning. By developing this resource for people to utilize, it shows what is available within the community and see that there are many low cost and free leisure activities accessible in Philadelphia. Going through this manual, the reader is given an opportunity to consider their personal leisure interests and take the first step towards having an active leisure lifestyle, ultimately leading to an overall improved quality of life.

Recreation and Leisure for Older Adults with Psychiatric Disabilities

This is a brief set of guidelines providing tips to older adults with psychiatric disabilities to assist them in becoming actively involved in recreational and leisure activities in their communities, along with resources from a wide range of recreational and leisure activity programs.

Promoting Community Inclusion through Leisure and Recreation

Research indicates that recreational activities of all kinds can play an essential part in the building of social networks for people with psychiatric disabilities: this document provides an overview of reliable strategies for finding, linking to, and enjoying recreational activities in community settings.

The Social Enhancement Workbook

The Social Enhancement Workbook provides a step-by-step guide to consumers, case managers and other support personnel with regard to increasing the consumer’s participation in a wide range of social activities in community settings: tested in a variety of community mental health and psychosocial programs, the ‘workbook’ is a useful guide to groups and individuals.















Collab Chats: Summer Institute with Gretchen Snethen

Gretchen Snethen from the Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion discusses one of the half day events that will take place at the 2017 Summer Institute

What is Recreational Therapy?

We sat down with Brandon Snead and Natasha Roseboom to talk about their roles as recreational therapists at the Temple University Collaborative.

Leisure and Recreation with Dr. Snethen

We sat down with Gretchen Snethen, Assistant Director for the Temple University Collaborative and spoke about her work with leisure and recreation as well as independent participation.

Redefined Event Video

Click here for a transcription of the video!