CMHA Durham developed a Healthy Living Program to assist mental health clients at risk of, or living with, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, or cardiovascular disease. The Healthy Living Program (HLP) is a 20-week educational and monitoring program to address the mental and physical health issues for this at-risk population, which can have difficulty accessing mainstream healthy lifestyle programs in the community. Through the program, a nurse and a physical activity specialist work together to deliver education, develop personalized health plans, and monitor clients. Participants receive a range of written resources on program topics. A certificate of completion is also provided to all graduates. The HLP has served over 150 people since January 2010 when external funding became available. A thorough evaluation methodology was put in place in 2012. The organization evaluates a set of clinical, knowledge, quality of life, and satisfaction indicators pre-program, mid-program, and post-program. For example, from September 2011 to March 2012, 63% of participant goals were achieved over the course of the program. The program has received an increase in referrals from other community agencies, which has improved linkages with other organizations. The program has also put a positive focus on the health and well-being of CMHA Durham employees since educational sessions and physical activities have been implemented for staff as well. A 12-week follow-up is provided which includes medical monitoring, individual nursing consultation, consultation with the Physical Activity Specialist, and a plan to complete a larger goal that’s identified in the pre-assessment.

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