Community Mental Health Journal

, Volume 55, Issue 4, pp 608–614 | Cite as

Losing to Gain: The Effects of a Healthy Lifestyle Intervention on the Physical and Psychosocial Well-being of Clients in a Community-based Mental Health Setting

  • Brandy M. MechlingEmail author
  • Tamatha Arms
Brief Report


Individuals with severe and persistent mental illness (SPMI) encounter both poorer physical health and psychosocial well-being in comparison to the general population. Obesity, hypertension, heart disease, and diabetes can result from the symptoms of mental illness, the side effects from psychotropic medications, as well as disparities associated with being mentally ill. Mental health nurses are in a prime position to implement healthy lifestyle interventions (HLIs). This study tested a HLI (physical exercise and nutrition) and examined the effects on physical and psychosocial outcomes in clients obtaining mental health services at a community-based facility. Key findings included a decrease in anxiety and depressive symptoms at 3 months and consistent improvement in self-efficacy for exercise in the intervention group. Bridges and barriers to achieving optimal results in physical and psychosocial well-being were identified. Findings from this study offer insight into designing and executing more effective HLIs with individuals who have SPMI.



Funding was provided by J. Richard Corbett Charitable Trust (Grant No. #621120).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in this study involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institution at which the study was conducted.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019
corrected publication 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Health and Human Services, School of NursingUniversity of North Carolina WilmingtonWilmingtonUS

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