Professor Jenny Bowman is a health psychologist and researcher at The University of Newcastle. Jenny is passionate about understanding and addressing physical health disparities among people with a mental health condition, and leads the Physical Health in Mental Illness (PHiMI) research team, which addresses preventive care for smoking, nutrition, alcohol use, and physical activity risk factors for people with a mental health condition.
Jenny and the PHIMI research team are undertaking a program of work focussing on strategies to increase the capacity of mental health services and community agencies to provide best practice preventive health care for people with a mental health condition. In partnership with key policy agencies and peak bodies, and undertaken with end-user organisations, this program of work strives for both scientific value and relevance to health policy and practice.
Title: Supporting Healthier Lifestyles: A Role for Community Managed Organisations
Author(s): Jenny Bowman, Kate Bartlem, Tara Clinton-McHarg, Lauren Gibson, Julia Dray, Caitlin Fehily, Magdalena Wilczynska, Olivia Wynne, Joanna Latter
Introduction: Community managed organisations (CMOs) may play a valuable role in providing preventive care to people living with a mental health condition (consumers) to improve lifestyle health behaviours (related to smoking, nutrition, alcohol and physical activity). Little research however has explored the extent to which this potential is being realised or how the capacity of CMOs to provide preventive care might be increased. This presentation provides an overview of the NSW-wide ‘CMO Connect’ project; designed to address this gap.
Methods: The project is triangulating data collected from CMO leaders, staff and consumers, using both quantitative and qualitative methods. It is assessing the current provision of preventive care, barriers and facilitators to provision, as well as consumer views of acceptability. Data is informing the conduct of a pilot trial of co-developed strategies to increase the capacity of CMOs and staff to support consumers in improving lifestyle health behaviours.
Results and Findings: This presentation will provide an overview of key findings from the project to date. Despite consumer expectation of receiving preventive care from their CMO support workers, such care is infrequently provided systematically, across behaviours, for all consumers. Factors likely to facilitate routine and comprehensive care provision include: staff training and guidelines; the availability of funding at both a service and consumer level; the degree to which the importance of a healthy lifestyle is embedded within organisational culture; and awareness of supports which might be offered by other CMOs and services, and to which consumers might be connected.
Discussion: Tailored strategies are required, co-developed with CMO staff and consumers, to increase the capacity for preventive care provision to consumers. Given diversity across CMOs in care and funding models, and in staff and consumer characteristics, strategies which can be adapted to a range of settings will be especially important.