Target Health Program
MHA is finalizing development of a new peer-to-peer support program that will be statewide. The program trains peers (those with mental health diagnosis) to work with peers in a group setting focusing on whole health management.
The support groups are designed to meet weekly for 8-12 weeks. Each week targets a different aspect of health including exercise, nutrition, meditation and other non-pharmacological mental health treatments, spirituality, relationships and health screenings. The trained peers leading the support group will receive a small stipend from MHA.
Persons with diagnosed mental health conditions live an average of 25 years less than those without mental health challenges. The Target Health program aims to change that dynamic through education and health-oriented goals.
Why is this program important?
In 2007, the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD) issued a report stating that individuals who receive public mental health services in the United States live an average of 25 years less than the general population. In Louisiana, this disparity is 28 years. In a state-by-state ranking, Mental Health America places Louisiana 43rd in the country for overall mental health, due in part to a lack of community-based mental health treatment services and to a bias among health providers toward institutionalization of those with severe mental health issues.
How do we evaluate this program?
Expected individual outcomes from participation in the program are as follows:
- Higher scoring on whole health and resiliency measurement factors
- Increased self-esteem and daily wellness
- Continued practice of health and self-management strategies
- Lower rate of hospitalization
- Long-term rise in life expectancy
- Improved relationship skills
- Clarity of individual meaning and purpose
MHA peer trainers will conduct pre- and post-program surveys to determine the impact.