Supporting Healthy Lifestyles

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Smoking and obesity are the two leading causes of preventable mortality in the US, and people with psychosis are 2-3 times more likely to have either or both of these chronic disease risk factors. Effective treatments for both conditions exist, but these are not consistently available to people who receive care in community mental health settings. Our projects have identified gaps in and barriers to current delivery of these treatments and explored innovative strategies to support implementation of effective treatments.

  • Community Mental Health Provider Counseling about Health Behaviors. This cross-sectional study was the first to examine the routine clinical practice of community mental health clinicians (N=154) in addressing cardiovascular risk at an urban community mental health center in New Haven CT. Findings suggested that both training mental health clinicians about risk and also support for improving clinician health status may improve the preventive care provided to clients at community mental health centers. Funding source: NIMH K23MH077824 (PI: Chwastiak)
  • Pilot Implementation of Diabetes Prevention in Six Community Mental Health Centers. In this 6-month pilot study, participants (N=60) received the 16-week DPP core curriculum at one of six CMHCs in King County WA. A comparison group (N=77) received usual care at one of five other CMHCs. The evaluation demonstrated the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary effectiveness of engaging CMHC clinicians in implementing the DPP for adults with serious mental illnesses. Funding source: NIMH K23MH077824 (PI: Chwastiak)
  • Instruments to assess physical activity. SPIRIT faculty were part of the multidisciplinary, international working group that developed and tested the 5-item Simple Psychical Activity Questionnaire (SIMPAQ) as a clinical tool to assess physical activity and sedentary behavior in people living with mental illness. SPIRIT participated in the 23-country (n= 1010) study between 2018-2019 that demonstrated the instrument’s validity and reliability. Funding sources: University of New South Wales (Australia) and National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research UK) PI:Rosenbaum
  • Supporting healthy lifestyle in first episode psychosis treatment. Despite increased risk of cardiovascular disease, the rate of monitoring of risk factors is low among patients prescribed antipsychotics. Providers lack of resources to obtain cardiovascular disease risk measurements, limited support for ensuring that monitoring is completed, and lack of follow-up protocols. Our current project aims to develop a population management approach to identifying and addressing CVD risk in FEP teams in WA state. Funding sources: Anonymous donors.
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