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The Capital Region of Denmark - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital
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Barriers and facilitators of effective health education targeting people with mental illness: a theory-based ethnographic study

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  3. A Time-Restricted Eating Intervention to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes: Motivation, Strategies and Integration into Daily Life

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  4. How to achieve a collaborative approach in health promotion: preferences and ideas of users of mental health services

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BACKGROUND: Health education is particularly important for people with mental illness because they are at higher risk of becoming overweight or obese and developing type 2 diabetes than are members of the general population. However, little is known about how to provide health education activities that promote engagement and motivation among people with mental illness.

METHODS: This study used ethnographic methods to examine barriers and facilitators of effective health education targeting people with mental illness by applying the concept of flow as a theoretical framework. Flow refers to immersion in an activity and is related to motivation. Data were collected through participant observation during eight health-educating activities and were thematically analysed using the concept of flow. Fieldwork was carried out between May and July 2015 in Denmark.

RESULTS: Barriers to flow included: 1) information overload, particularly of biomedical rationales for behaviour change; 2) a one-size-fits-all approach that failed to address the needs and preferences of the target group; and 3) one-way communication allowing little time for reflection. Educators promoted a state of flow when they spoke less and acted outside of a traditional expert role, thus engaging participants in the activity. Flow was facilitated when educators were attentive and responsive to people with mental illness, and when they stimulated reflection about health and health behaviour through open-ended questions, communication tools and in small group exercises.

CONCLUSIONS: This study suggests that more focus should be paid to training of educators in terms of skills to involve and engage people with mental illness in health education activities.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBMC Psychiatry
Volume18
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)353
ISSN1471-244X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Oct 2018

ID: 55563626