Helping people with diabetes to manage their own illness and improve their health plays a key role in the prevention and management of this chronic disease. The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Ontario, the Ontario Peer Development Initiative (OPDI) and the Provincial Consumer/Survivor LHIN Leads Network (PCSLL) have launched a two-year project to provide diabetes competency training for mental health peer-support workers.
People with serious mental illness are at high risk for developing diabetes. This training will increase the skills of peer-support workers in helping others prevent and self-manage diabetes while living with mental illness. The project will also increase awareness in the diabetes community of the role mental health workers can play in support of prevention and self-management.
A diabetes peer-support training module will be developed and pilot-tested across Ontario. The module will be one of a series of specialty modules that will build on a core skills training program for mental health peer-support workers that is being developed by OPDI. An evaluation of the diabetes training-module and its application in the field will be carried out by Cheryl Forchuk, a scientist at the Lawson Health Research Institute. The diabetes module will then be revised and distributed provincially as a stand-alone resource for training mental health workers delivering peer support in any setting.
The project will be guided by an advisory committee that includes representatives from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, Local Health Integration Networks, Family Health Teams, Community Health Centres, the Canadian Diabetes Association, community mental-health service providers and other stakeholders.
For more information about the project, see the backgrounder “Diabetes and Mental Health Peer-Support Training,” May 2010, at www.ontario.cmha.ca. For more information about diabetes and mental illness, see “Diabetes and Serious Mental Illness: Future Directions for Ontario — A Report from the March 30, 2009 Think Tank on Diabetes and Serious Mental Illness,” April 30, 2009, at www.ontario.cmha.ca/backgrounders.