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Mood-Lifters: a novel approach to mental wellness

Deldin, Patricia


Sandra Graham-Bermann


Approximately 57% of adults in the United States will develop a mental illness during their lifetime and 32% of adults live with a mental health condition at any given time. This has significant costs to society, government and industry with lost wages and disability payments estimated at $217 billion. There are over 55 million adults in the USA with a mental illness not receiving any treatment and millions of others receive substandard care. We created a program that shifts the paradigm in how wellness care in delivered from a clinic-based, clinician-run structure, to a scalable paraprofessionally administered, community-based, educational, wellbeing program called Mood Lifters. Mood Lifters is a 15-week self-referral program, where facilitators, who are not trained clinicians but rather professionals in a number of fields, are certified specifically in the psychoeducation provided by Mood Lifters to be inexpensive to deliver, scalable and evidence-based mental health care. Up to 15 participants per group will participate in weekly meetings that cover the teaching of evidence-based techniques that fall within five domains known to influence mental health - biology, cognitive, emotion, social processes, and behavior including evidence based treatments such as Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Insomnia (CBTi), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) and character Strengths (positive psychology). Clients are given a targeted set of goals (homework) for incorporating new wellness activities associated with the covered material into their lives and receive “points” for self-reported wellness behaviors during the intervening week. Mood Lifters has the potential to be used by multiple groups that work on wellness such as employers, social service providers, local Ys, community centers, schools or prisons. Unlike online programs, such as Mood Gym, Mood Lifters has social interaction and peer support, two essential components to successful self-referral programs. In addition the points manual that is used by participants has the essential component of using self-management to track their own behavior and outcomes while at home and at work. This grant will help us to take the the model program from the lab in the community as well plan to run 24 adult groups and 4 child groups next year testing the efficacy of the program.

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