what is WHAM?
onepagerWhole Health Action Management (WHAM) is a peer-led intervention program that helps individuals living with chronic health conditions to create sustainable new health behaviors. WHAM combats the high incidence of co-occurring physical and mental health conditions through effective self-management techniques and dynamic community groups that provide peer support for all levels of health: physical, mental, and spiritual. Preliminary research shows that nearly 85% of WHAM participants have reached their whole health goals. Two key elements lead to success in WHAM: a proven process for learning how to activate and sustain new healthy habits and a group of supportive peers who are invested in each other’s success while working on their own health goals.

why WHAM?
Delivered by the National Council for Behavioral Health, WHAM is supported by both the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and is founded on researched chronic disease self-management programs such as HARP (Health and Recovery Peer Program) and science-based health and resiliency factors like the Relaxation Response, developed by the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. This partnership and science-based approach speaks to the future of integrated health.

Mental Health Connecticut is the first organization to bring WHAM to the state. Programs like WHAM are instrumental in supporting and sustaining the long-term health of individuals because it allows individuals to access their innate capacity to heal. This approach results in a greater chance of success to help address trauma and the vulnerability that often accompanies the emotional distress related to mental health and/or addiction and co-occurring physical health conditions.

joining a WHAM support group
Individuals living with chronic health conditions who are seeking a peer led support group in order to learn sustainable new health behaviors are welcome to register to attend an upcoming WHAM support group.

WHAM support groups are peer led, 8-week long sessions. Participants are asked to commit to attending all eight weeks. You may be able to join a support group within the first 3 weeks at the discretion of the Facilitator. Below is a listing of current and upcoming groups.

  • Intercommunity/Common Ground (East Hartford, CT) September 12 – October 31, 2016 – Call for more info: 860-569-5900
  • CHR (Manchester, CT) September 7 – November 2, 2016 – Click here for details
  • Discovery Drop-in Center (Waterbury, CT) August 10 – October 5, 2016 – Group is not accepting new members at this time

Additional WHAM support groups will be added to this site as they become available.

become a WHAM facilitator
In partnership with Advocacy Unlimited, Hartford Healthcare, The Petit Family Foundation, and The Hartford, Mental Health Connecticut is calling all individuals who provide peer-delivered services and supports (both professionals and volunteers) to become the first-ever Connecticut facilitators for Whole Health Action Management (WHAM). WHAM facilitators will become certified upon completion of the training.

Individuals who identify as peers, provide peer-delivered services (including professionals and volunteers), and who currently facilitate peer programs or who have the intention of becoming a volunteer are welcome to apply. Experience in the health fields and/or with running peer groups is preferred.

Individuals who identify as a peer:

  • Identify as having lived experience related to mental health and/or addiction.
  • Identify as having navigated the service delivery systems, to achieve a self-defined purpose in life.
  • Are willing to disclose personal experience of working through emotional distress and extreme states.

All participants agree to create and work toward a whole health and resiliency goal, provide peer support to reach his/her whole health and resiliency goal, and facilitate or participate in an 8-week whole health and resiliency peer group.

what does the training entail?
WHAM is a science-based health plan, created by peers for peers, to teach participants how to set and achieve whole health goals through weekly action plans and 8-week support groups. The two-day, in-person WHAM training teaches participants to facilitate WHAM groups that help their peers reach whole health, wellness, and resiliency goals through effective self-management.

WHAM training supports the peer workforce to use person-centered planning and weekly action plans to create new health behaviors by engaging in weekly groups. It also teaches basic health screens for prevention and encourages shared decision making with health professionals. WHAM is founded on researched chronic disease self-management programs such as HARP (Health and Recovery Peer Program) and science-based health and resiliency factors like the Relaxation Response, developed by the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. WHAM training prepares participating peer leaders to:

  • Engage in person-centered planning to identify strengths and supports in 10 science-based whole health and resiliency factors.
  • Write a whole health goal based on person-centered planning.
  • Create and log a weekly action plan.
  • Participate in peer support groups to create new health behavior.
  • Elicit the Relaxation Response to manage stress.
  • Engage in cognitive skills to avoid negative thinking.

Following the training, participants join a national listserve to foster an online peer support network and share tips and tools for success.

how do I apply?
In order to be considered for future facilitator trainings, please click the below button and complete the form. Those who apply will be added to a contact list and updated as we obtain funding and plan future WHAM Facilitator training sessions.

For more information on WHAM, please contact Suzi Craig at 860-529-1970, ext. 205, or email SCraig@mhconn.org.

meet the trainers
Jean Dukarski – WHAM Senior Trainer
Larry Fricks – Developer of the WHAM curriculum

“Research has shown that people with the strongest social ties have dramatically lower rates of disease and premature death than those who feel isolated and alone. Regular participation in organized social networks — like peer support groups — is at the core of why WHAM is so effective in whole health self-management.” – Larry Fricks

about mental health

Mental health and wellness are integral to whole health. However, it is not uncommon for people to experience times in their lives or in the lives of their loved ones when optimal mental health is unattainable. In fact, one in four people will experience a mental illness sometime during their life.

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About Mental Health

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