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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 870497, 7 pages
Research Article

A Qualitative Study Exploring Facilitators for Improved Health Behaviors and Health Behavior Programs: Mental Health Service Users’ Perspectives

1Northern Medical Program, Department of Psychiatry, University of Northern British Columbia, 3333 University Way, Prince George, BC, Canada V2K 4C2
2University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z3
3School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z4
4Activity Centre, BC Schizophrenia Society, Prince George Branch, Prince George, BC, Canada V2L 5G5

Received 13 February 2014; Revised 17 April 2014; Accepted 20 April 2014; Published 6 May 2014

Academic Editor: Angela J. Torres

Copyright © 2014 Candida Graham et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objective. Mental health service users experience high rates of cardiometabolic disorders and have a 20–25% shorter life expectancy than the general population from such disorders. Clinician-led health behavior programs have shown moderate improvements, for mental health service users, in managing aspects of cardiometabolic disorders. This study sought to potentially enhance health initiatives by exploring (1) facilitators that help mental health service users engage in better health behaviors and (2) the types of health programs mental health service users want to develop. Methods. A qualitative study utilizing focus groups was conducted with 37 mental health service users attending a psychosocial rehabilitation center, in Northern British Columbia, Canada. Results. Four major facilitator themes were identified: (1) factors of empowerment, self-value, and personal growth; (2) the need for social support; (3) pragmatic aspects of motivation and planning; and (4) access. Participants believed that engaging with programs of physical activity, nutrition, creativity, and illness support would motivate them to live more healthily. Conclusions and Implications for Practice. Being able to contribute to health behavior programs, feeling valued and able to experience personal growth are vital factors to engage mental health service users in health programs. Clinicians and health care policy makers need to account for these considerations to improve success of health improvement initiatives for this population.