Mental wellness benefits surprise Massey researchers
From the Couch D v2

You know for certain you're improving health outcomes when university researchers are stunned by the mental wellness benefits they measure in a programme you support.

In fact, the early results from Total Healthcare's collaborative project are so good researchers from Massey University’s School of Psychology – Te Kura Hinengaro Tangata say they have never measured such positive mental health outcomes from any intervention.

We’re helping underserved populations struggling with obesity and related issues in South Auckland to change their lives through a partnership between our PHO, Te Whatu Ora and Brown Buttabean Motivation (BBM). Next year the programme will extend to West Auckland.

The programme, From the Couch, brings free 12-week exercise, nutrition and motivation programmes to groups of mainly Pasifika and Māori people at BBM's headquarters in Manukau.

Massey University is conducting a two-year evaluation of the programme from its start date in February 2022. Early findings focus on mental wellbeing as this is key to supporting overweight people to improve their overall health.

Total Healthcare also supports the programme by providing regular onsite access to nurses, GPs, mental health professionals and clinical assessment (including blood tests) from its flexible funding pool.

Everyone in the second cohort measured in the interim evaluation report was either overly obese (most) or obese (some) and weighed from 104.5kg to 300kg at the start of the programme.

More than half of those who joined the programme and agreed to complete a patient health questionnaire PHQ-9 test reported experiencing severe depressive symptoms. The PHQ-9 screens for the presence and severity of depression and to monitor response to treatment.

While not everyone completed the 12-week programme, of those who did, only 7% were still experiencing severe depressive symptoms after fully participating in From the Couch.

Researchers note that key to the programme’s success is the supportive, non-judgmental and fun atmosphere of the classes. 

Read the BBM From the Couch Interim Evaluation Report for more details.


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