TARGET Health Program
What is TARGET Health?
TARGET Health trains peers to lead peers in a group setting, focusing on whole health management. The 10-week program “targets” a different aspect of health including exercise, nutrition, meditation and other non-pharmacological mental health treatments, spirituality, relationships and health screenings.
TARGET Health History
Louisiana Mental Health Association collaborated with the Office of Behavioral Health in developing this whole health statewide program in 2018, because statistics indicated that people with behavioral health issues live an average of 25 years less. The Target Health program was designed to offer some positive solutions. In 2021, LAMHA decided it was vital to introduce a Youth curriculum to TARGET Health, to address some of their growing mental health gaps. This program offers positive tools of education, practical goal setting and action in the different aspects of self-care. Both courses- the original and now the Youth focused, offer healthy coping information and skills within a safe environment.
Why it Works
There are important components about the TARGET Health program: the facilitator, the materials and the group. The Peer Facilitator is the backbone to TARGET Health, whether for Youth or Adults. The trained facilitator puts together/works with an established small group of 9-10 and they meet for 10 weeks. The Peer workbooks are evidence-based, with creative activities, group discussion illustrations and reflection/ journaling space The course is built upon the peer to peer model in a group setting.10 topics,10 peers, 10 weeks!
Usually one Unit topic, on either a whole health topic or youth issue, is covered from the TARGET Health materials each week. 10 Topics range from exercise, nutrition, meditation, relationships to setting goals, among other youth issues. The Facilitator Guide contains step-by-step instructions for leading/facilitating the course. (TARGET Health management and Steering Committee mentors are also always available for support.) *See the pages from the Peer Workbook and the Facilitator Guide on our website. There are examples of the forms as well.
The Facilitator will choose the venue and create the small group for the 10 weeks of TARGET Health. There are some inherent places to find group members, as well as sites, which include, but aren’t limited to: school student unions, volunteer organizations, college professional groups, colleagic organizations, the Panhellenic, Human Service authorities, clinics, recreational facilities, behavioral health centers, peer resource centers, public library conference rooms, church facilities, and assisted living centers. Some groups may still be facilitated virtually. Every TARGET Health group dynamic is life-changing!
Why is this program important?
In 2007, the National Association of the State Mental Health Directors (NASMHPD) issued a report stating that individuals who receive public mental health services in the United States live an average of 25 years less than the general population. In Louisiana, this disparity is 28 years. In a state by state ranking, Louisiana is close to the bottom for lack of community based mental health services and due to extreme bias for institutionalism.
LAMHA developed the behavioral health program, TARGET Health, to address whole-health and to prop up the belief of recovery. It strives to combat some of the services gaps, with a small group model, peers leading and accountable to peers. Course participants have reported a true change in their outlook and quality of life.
How do we evaluate this program?
The Peer Facilitators conduct Pre and Post evaluation surveys to determine impact.
Expected individual outcomes from participation in the program are as follows:
- Better general wellbeing and peace
- Higher scoring on whole health and resiliency measurement factors
- Increased self-esteem and daily wellness
- Continued practices of health and self-management strategies
- Lower rate of hospitalization
- Improved relationship skills
- Clarity of individual meaning and purpose
TARGET Health Youth
LAMHA is introducing a new Peer-to-Peer curriculum to the TARGET Health Program family. It is TARGET Health Youth! This will also reach Statewide, but have Young (preferably Sr. High & College age) Peer Facilitators. These peer leaders will be trained to work with fellow peers in a small group setting. The TARGET Health Youth program is designed, like the first curriculum, to use a workbook format and to meet weekly. Each week “targets” a different Youth issue. 10 Peers, 10 topics, 10 weeks!
The following are a few of the ten topics the group will review, discuss, reflect upon with activities and journaling:
- Coping with Traumatic Events
- Recognizing & Managing Anxiety
- Understanding Body Image
- Developing Healthy Relationships
- Social Media
All material is free to the participants, was researched, has broad resources and personal input. There is a small stipend for the group Facilitator.