Individuals with serious mental illness have elevated rates of comorbid chronic general medical conditions and may benefit from interventions designed to support illness self-management. This study examined the effectiveness of a modified version of the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program called Living Well for individuals with serious mental illness.
A total of 63 mental health consumers with serious mental illness and at least one concurrent chronic general medical condition were randomly assigned to receive the 13-session peer-cofacilitated Living Well intervention or usual care. Participants were evaluated on attitudinal, behavioral, and functional outcomes at baseline, at the end of the intervention, and at a two-month follow-up.
Living Well participants showed significant postintervention improvements across a range of attitudinal (self-efficacy and patient activation), behavioral (illness self-management techniques), and functional (physical and emotional well-being and general health functioning) outcomes. Although attenuation of effect was observed for most outcomes at two months postintervention, evidence was found of continued improvement in general self-management behaviors (use of action planning, brainstorming, and problem-solving). Continued advantage was found for the Living Well group in other areas, such as health-related locus of control and reports of healthy eating and physical activity. Receipt of Living Well was associated with a notable decrease in use of the emergency room for medical care, although the between-group difference was not statistically significant.
Living Well shows promise in helping mental health consumers more effectively manage chronic general medical conditions and experience improved functioning and well-being.