Mental Health Service Users Benefit from Community Research Project
Prince George, B.C. – A local community partnership project to help mental health service users live healthier lives continues to show success.
The three-year program is nearing its second and final phase and has been based on the research of Northern Medical Program clinical associate professor Dr. Candida Graham.
Local media were given a close up view of the nutrition component today – a community kitchen.
“Which is about having that socialization, learning new cooking skills and then having portions of food; not only to take home but also have that meal together,” says Graham.
Another element of the second phase has been a tobacco reduction program, which she says went hand in hand with the community kitchen.
“Because research shows that people are more likely to give up smoking if they have good diets.”
The program has been run out of the Activity Centre for Empowerment (ACE) and coordinator Nansi Long says she’s been impressed with the results.
“I’ve seen some successful changes in people – in their ability to connect socially with others and their ability to work as a team and their ability to resolve conflicts with one another.”
And though studies indicate mental health service users smoke 44 per cent of all cigarettes sold in North America, she’s seen great strides made through the tobacco reduction program.
“They are finding long term success. One lady has been cigarette free for over a year and this is someone who smoked a pack and a half a day.”
And perhaps what’s even more impressive, both programs will continue on.
“The connectivity we’ve made through the partners here, and partly through our evaluation, highlights the value these programs have and means they’re sustainable,” says Graham.
They will remain viable with the continued financial support of Northern Health and the BC Schizophrenia Society. The programs will also be made available to other mental health service users across the Northern Interior region of Northern Health.