Ever wondered if talking to a coach produces measurable results? Recent research among a very challenged population suggests that coaching is not only viable, but a necessary step to resolve challenging physical or emotional issues.
In the research below, study participants had very difficult physical and emotional challenges.
The positive results of a pilot project that took place over two years have been presented to the American Association of Diabetes Educators Annual Meeting and Exhibition. During the project, individuals who had been diagnosed with type II diabetes were given mental health coaching, to help protect themselves against the adverse effects of depression that often accompanies diabetes.
Recognizing that type II diabetes can be a difficult illness to manage and can lead to depression, the pilot project sought to provide mental health coaching to diabetic patients who were at a higher risk of developing depression as well. Educators chose the central part of North Carolina as a base area to roll out their program, since the area has a diabetic rate of 16%, which is significantly higher than the national average of 10%.
The depression rate of the population is at 30%, in part due to the significance of a high poverty level. 65% of the population is living below the national poverty level. For the purposes of the program, this area provides significant likelihood that different conditions; diabetes, poverty and depression will overlap, allowing educators to address not only the medical problem, but the mental state as well.
Depression often impedes a person’s desire to help yourself or engage in positive daily routines. In order to control blood sugar and diabetes, the individual must be actively implementing lifestyle changes, a task which often seems pointless to a depressive person.
The team offered mental health coaching to 182 newly diagnosed Type II diabetes patients who were also suffering from depression. The mental health coach provided an average of 3 support visits to teach patients how to handle stress factors and personal hardships or challenges.
After a 3-month period, blood sugar levels in depressed patients had gone down to 7.7% from the preliminary average of 8.8%. Furthermore, using the Patient Health Questionnaire of anxiety and depression measures, scores were decreased by 49% after three months compared to the scores reported prior to the mental health coaching.
The trial project represents a new milestone in the care and treatment of patients with type II diabetes. Dealing with the mental aspects of a person’s health will in turn give the individual the coping skills and motivation to take control of their physical well-being and take measures to keep blood sugar levels at the desired level.