Development and Evaluation of Innovative Peer-led Physical Activity Programs for Mental Health Service Users
Dr. Candida Graham
Academic Psychiatrist, Northern Medical Program, University of Northern British Columbia;
Associate Professor, College of Arts, Social & Health Sciences, University of Northern British Columbia;
Affiliate Associate Professor, Psychiatry, University of British Columbia
Medical Lead for Mental Health & Addictions, Northern Health.
Dr. Roseann Larstone
Research Associate, Northern Medical Program,
University of Northern British Columbia
Health promotion programs show physical and mental health benefits for mental health service users (MHSUs) but attrition from provider-developed and-led programs is high. Peer-led programs are an underutilized avenue for health promotion in this population. We report the development and evaluation of three innovative peer-developed and peer-led physical activity (PA) programs. We explored the feasibility and acceptability of these programs in supporting MHSUs’ health behavior change. We also explored in-depth how improved health behavior occurs for MHSUs, highlighting the benefits of peer involvement in program development and implementation. We discuss a theory of engagement and change and implications for future research.
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