Roy LaPree and our InShape Program

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Roy joined the InShape Program about a year ago, and is visibly excited about the difference it has made in his life.

Before joining, he experienced a lot of depression and mood swings. Since then, he credits InShape with helping stabilize his mood. One aspect of the program focuses on boosting physical activity. Citizen Advocates has partnered with the Greater Malone YMCA with Health Coaches work with program participants.

“Every time I leave the YMCA I have a happy face and lots of energy,” said Roy. It’s given him a positive outlet that note only boosts his strength but helps his confidence as well. He’s even sleeping better at night.

At first, there was apprehension about the program. InShape Health Coach Laura Weber noted Roy was coming to regular program sessions about once a week. Fast forward to today, and Roy takes the initiative to go to the gym on his own for regular workouts during the week.

In addition to exercise, the InShape Program focuses on health factors like healthy eating. One of the big things for Roy was overcoming his daily soda intake. In fact, he’s gone several weeks without soda, which Laura attests is a big accomplishment for Roy.

Project InSHAPE, an evidence-based health program, supports the long-term and often complex health needs of people experiencing mental illness. Increased risk of cardiovascular disease resulting from a sedentary lifestyle, metabolic fluctuations associated with psychiatric medications, poor dietary habits and tobacco use are conditions often linked to mental illness, and can result in a shorter life span of 25 to 30 years.

To help close the gap so individuals can live longer, healthier, and more meaningful lives; InSHAPE Health Coaches develop interventions for better health in the areas of nutrition, fitness, social inclusion and community engagement for individuals with both serious mental illness and who are at risk for other health conditions. The InSHAPE (Self-Health Action Plan for Empowerment) program works in close conjunction with the Behavioral Health Services provided by Citizen Advocates. Each participant must receive medical clearance prior to joining the program, and the health coaches consult regularly with the individual’s therapist and care team.

However, physical activity is only one dimension of the program.

They cover everything from sleep habits and patterns to the foods they eat. In many cases, this means shifting from a high-sodium, high-carb diet. Health coaches take participants to the grocery store and identify healthy food choices with the understanding they might have a fixed grocery budget

The benefits of the InSHAPE Program can be significant for a person’s mental, physical and emotional health. From decreased dependency on medications for anxiety, depression and diabetes, to a reduction in avoidable hospitalization or ER visits – the program not only focuses on improving health and health outcomes, it has the potential to reduce healthcare costs.