Sharing Health Tips for those Living with Mental Illness

23 October, 2013

 For those living with mental illness, healthy living can be a daunting challenge.  But, help is just a phone call away.  Cathleen Hursh is a Peer Support Specialist and a certified Health and Wellness Coach at the Douglass Community Association.  Bread for the Journey of Southwest Michigan previously supported Cathleen’s work by funding furniture and books for a meeting room where various educational classes were held.

Cathleen is focusing on addressing health challenges for those living with mental illness.  “On average, people with a mental illness die 25 years earlier than those without,”  Cathleen said.  “Most of our clients…have other health issues in addition to the mental illness.  Side effects of medications, poor diet, lack of exercise and smoking are contributing factors to chronic illness such as diabetes, arthritis, and obesity, just to name a few.”

“Cathleen also mentioned that, “Our goal here is to help our clients ultimately reach their highest potential and best self, to support their journey and to live happy, healthy, and productive lives.”  To that end, Cathleen is organizing monthly cooking classes in which clients help shop for groceries and then participate in preparing, cooking, and presenting a healthy, inexpensive meal.  This project teaches the importance of healthy eating on a budget, cooking for one, and the benefits of regular exercise.

Cathleen requested $600 to offer monthly healthy cooking classes to clients for an entire year.  Bread for the Journey of Southwest Michigan agreed that Cathleen’s healthy cooking classes were a great benefit to those with mental illness and we were delighted to award her $600 for this impactful project.