Eating Well Training Day 2010

We met. We ate. We learned. We could sum up our training day in a few sentences, but it would not capture the connections, the presentations or the flavour of the day. Program leaders from across the province were invited to the Eating Well for Mental Health Training Day based on their expressed interest in becoming involved in the healthy eating phase of the Minding Our Bodies project. Over 20 leaders converged in Toronto on September 23, 2010 at George Brown College to learn and share ideas for healthy eating programming for people with serious mental illness.

The day began with an overview of the Minding Our Bodies project (see below) and a brief introduction to the Healthy Communities Fund (from the Ministry of Health Promotion and Sport). Keynote speaker Karen Liberman, Executive Director of the Mood Disorders Association of Ontario, set the tone for the day. Her personal story of recovery engaged participants to think about their healthy eating program from a consumer/survivor perspective.

Personal stories were also shared by Minding Our Bodies program dietitian Karen Trainoff, who spoke about the relationship between food and mood, and panel presenter Zora Ignjatovic, who introduced her living food boxes to demonstrate how garden programming can pop out of a box.

Other presenters highlighted a range of innovative programs:

  • Brian Walmark and Robert Thomas presented the garden box program at Keewaytinook Okimakanak and illustrated the empowerment that can come from eating what you grow and learning about traditional medicinal plants.
  • Elizabeth Branton presented the Healthy Living Program at CMHA Durham where self-management education and active living programming are combined to support people with mental illness and metabolic syndrome in a primary care clinic.
  • Tara Laing shared her experience facilitating community kitchen groups at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and Accommodation, Information and Support, a supportive housing agency.
  • Tony Priolo showcased George Brown’s Augmented Education Programs, including the Assistant Chef Extended Training which provides training and employment in the food service industry for people with addiction and mental health problems. George Brown College also generously provided the event venue.

Resources were shared on evaluation planning (Dayna Albert from Towards Evidence-Informed Practice and the CAPTURE project) and the role of public health dietitians and related resources (Cindy Scythes from the Nutrition Resource Centre). The presence of Minding Our Bodies advisory committee members was also appreciated.

Before the day was done, small-group discussions brought out ideas to overcome barriers to program delivery. The Minding Our Bodies evaluation process for the overall project was introduced by Carolyn Steele Gray (see below).

Participants provided very positive and helpful feedback and those who responded added their names to the draw for prizes: Tara Laing won a design award-winning measuring spoon and Don Miles won a copy of the STOP Community Food Centre cookbook.

The Eating Well for Mental Health training day showed that all eyes were on the ultimate prize of healthy eating program success. CMHA Ontario plans to continue fostering the connections made by training day participants by facilitating an open community of practice.

A summary of results from the training day evaluation forms will be shared with participants in the near future.

Training Day Presentation: Minding Our Bodies Project Overview235.42 KB
Training Day Presentation: Program Evaluation for Minding Our Bodies153.49 KB