One of Perry Wellness Center’s most recent innovations is the establishment of a “nutrition kitchen” for peer training. The nutritional betterment program is aimed toward peers whose health needs require better nutrition, as well as those who want to maintain healthy lifestyles.
Staff member Phyllis Smith directs the new program and has received certified training through the Whole Health Action Management (WHAM) program. All training activities in the WHAM program include information exposure, group discussion, and practice activities. In this case, activities include the preparation of foods that will fit into a healthier diet.
Miss Phyllis notes, “We realize that there are many factors affecting our health and the health of our peers. I have been challenged with trying to help peers better understand nutrition as they seek to become more aware of good foods and proper food preparation.”
Research has shown that individuals with mental illness and other behavioral health problems are more likely to develop serious illnesses, and those with serious mental illness can have a significantly reduced life expectancy without proper intervention.
Today’s discussion group was focused on dealing with diabetes. It began with a graphic display of the growing problem of diabetes in society today. The different types and level of the disease were reviewed, and the importance of early detection was stressed. Nutritional management of diabetes was also discussed.
“These groups are ever changing,” Miss Phyllis says, “But to have a space for discussion of foods, proper food preparation, and an ongoing discussion of the peers’ need for better health is my main concern.”
In the photo above, Phyllis Smith opens a discussion on nutrition and diabetes during a morning group session. Shown are peers Angela Smith and Nicole Jackson, along with wellness coach Sarah Teal.