CMHA Peterborough: Food for Mood Case Study Report

Submitted by
 
Michaela Hynie
York Institute for Health Research, Program Evaluation Unit
York University

Carolyn Steele Gray
University of Toronto

February 2011

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Introduction

This case study report overviews and evaluates the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Peterborough Branch’s Food for Mood program. The Food for Mood program is one of six pilot programs funded by CMHA Ontario’s Minding Our Bodies (MOB) Eating Well for Mental Health program. This report is intended to provide evaluative feedback to the MOB Program Leaders, Advisory Committee, and CMHA Peterborough staff regarding the Food for Mood program.  The evaluative analysis includes context, input, process and product evaluation questions (specifically, short-term outcomes) set out in the original Minding Our Bodies evaluation proposal that can be answered by examining the individual pilot programs. The main aim of this case study report is to provide feedback on the goals, development, implementation, and outputs of the pilot program in relation to the MOB program and its goals and objectives. The final MOB Eating Well for Mental Health program evaluation report draws on this and other case study reports in order to determine whether the MOB program met its short-term goals, unfolded as planned, and how it could be improved.

Summary

The Food for Mood program did an excellent job at meeting the aims of the MOB project. Clients demonstrated early gains in mental health and many had excellent gains in social inclusion with regard to inter-personal relationships as well as community integration. Clients’ readiness to change was enhanced and encouraged lifestyle changes which, if sustained, will lead to improved physical health over the long term. The community of practice was built through the development of new partnerships in Peterborough, which are expected to continue in the future. CMHA Peterborough also benefited from participating in teleconferences and training day as a means to create additional linkages with other pilot sites and share their experiences.

The program also did a good job of meeting its own goals as well as meeting broader organizational goals. It is encouraging that CMHA Peterborough has demonstrated a shift towards promoting wellness generally, and this program serves to build on this goal and provide support for its importance. A key learning from this program was the importance of running a program that was not focused on mental illness but rather on healthy eating. This put clients at ease and created a safe and fun environment in which clients could learn and share experiences. There was a strong positive response to this program and there are already waiting lists for the next round.
 

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