- Are we doing a good job of setting the expectation of self-sufficiency and graduation from InSHAPE with participants?
- What are the best ways to reduce no-shows and help mentors and participants stay motivated?
- What’s the best course of action if consumers stop engaging in the program?
Expectations can be a complicated and sensitive issue with InSHAPE participants, mentors, and even partners. The topic was a focus of discussion on a recent monthly Program Managers call and many excellent insights and suggestions were shared. Highlights include:
- Be clear about expectations. It’s important to communicate expectations as people enter the program, with the goal that “we want you to get the most out of the program that you can.” An intentional review of expectations can be used as a screen to be sure participants are ready for InSHAPE.
- Set graduation from InSHAPE as a goal. The expectation of transitioning out of the InSHAPE program into independence should be a goal, rather than a surprise.
- Use Motivational Interviewing. Health Mentors often take on the the responsibility when consumers aren’t engaged. Motivational Interviewing is an effective way to put responsibility back on the consumer, which is where it should be. Periodic refreshers for Health Mentors on Motivational Interviewing can be valuable.
- Expect and allow adjustment for life challenges. People living with severe mental illness are dealing with different kinds of life challenges and circumstances than others. Most will have some kind of life challenge interfere with their commitments at some point, at which time it is appropriate for health mentors to be patient and ease expectations. For some, it may even be appropriate to take a break from the program for a period of time.
- Promote and reward tracking. The better participants are able to track and share their own progress, the more successful they are in the program. There’s no single easy way to make that happen, but making tracking forms accessible and easy to use has been effective.
What has worked for you? Please add your recommendations and insights in the comments.