Exploring the Outcomes of a Pilot Education Program Tailored for Adults With Type 2 Diabetes and Mental Illness in a Community Mental Health Care Setting

Adriana Cimo, Desmond Loong, Carolyn S. Dewa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objectives: People with mental illness and type 2 diabetes are more likely to experience diabetes complications than the general population. Diabetes management can be improved with tailored lifestyle intervention content. The purpose of this pilot study was to investigate diabetes insights of mental health-care patients after participation in a tailored education intervention. Methods: A 12-session diabetes education program was created to address the learning needs and challenges that people with mental illness may experience. The program was assessed through conducting interviews with 6 participants combined with quantitative data to describe the population. Interviews were transcribed verbatim, assessed for quality and coded to identify relationships and meanings between identified themes. Results: Throughout the year of participation, blood sugar control and physical activity level improved for some and worsened for others. Weight remained stable and dietary intake patterns appeared to improve overall. Participants described the appropriateness of the teaching strategies and program structure developed, and all improved their understanding about diabetes and gained practical self-management knowledge. Opportunities for program improvement included extending care beyond the counselling room to address financial limitations, incorporating a practical activity component and creating opportunities for social support. Additionally, leaving some sessions as patient directed would further individualize education care. Conclusions: Our study offers a concrete education program strategy that aligns with Diabetes Canada's self-management education guidelines to support the provision of diabetes care for people with mental illness. Modifying program delivery may help to curtail the increasing rates of morbidity and mortality currently observed in this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)461-472.e1
JournalCanadian Journal of Diabetes
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • diabetes self-management education
  • mental illness
  • self-care
  • tailored care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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