The purpose of the Health Improvement Organization (HIO) Peer Support Series is to provide a resource for community members who wish to create a social support group or enhance the supportive functions of an existing community group.
Social support is a proven indicator of improved health outcomes. Often, people have support groups built into their lives without realizing it. For example, families, friends and co-workers can be a great place to find support for life’s challenges.
These sources of support may not be available for everyone, or these groups may not be able to provide the right amount or kind of support for every situation. Health problems, like a new disease diagnosis, may be harder for family and friends to relate to if they have no experience with it themselves. For these reasons many people turn to support groups to fill that gap.
Support groups have become popular options for:
- Weight loss
- Smoking cessation
- Drug and alcohol problems
- Chronic disease problems
The benefits of social support are not limited to only these health topics, of course. Where there is a need for social support, a group of supportive individuals can be formed to improve the health outcomes, coping responses and resource awareness of people who do not feel enough support from other areas of their life. Social support groups can also be helpful to family members and friends of those experiencing a difficult time or condition. Some support groups welcome family and friends along with the group member, and sometimes, specific groups are set-up just for family and friends.
Support Series Overview
The HIO Peer Support Series was created to cover four topic areas shown by the Community Health Assessment to be areas of need for Jackson County.
The nutrition curriculum is a five meeting series covering the basics of goal setting, energy balance, reading food labels, portion sizes, and nutrition recommendations. This series can be used in conjunction with the Physical Activity curriculum (see below) as a “Healthy Weight” series.
The physical activity curriculum is a six meeting series covering the basics of goal setting, energy balance, active living, cardiovascular exercise, strength training and overcoming barriers. This series can be used in conjunction with the Nutrition curriculum described above as a “Healthy Weight” series.
The smoke-free curriculum is a five meeting curriculum covering the basics of goal setting, reasons to quit, beating cravings, benefits of not smoking and staying smoke-free.
The stress-less curriculum is a five meeting curriculum covering the basics of goal setting, stress versus stressors, problem solving, coping tools and relaxation techniques.