Small changes add healthy choices at Gathering Hope House

Posted on: April 11, 2017

For those struggling with mental health issues, focusing on physical wellness can be a challenge. Staff at Gathering Hope House in Lorain, OH know that a healthy body helps to support a healthy mind.

"Having a healthy lifestyle helps support our members’ personal growth and recovery,” explains Betty J. Weaver, executive director of Gathering Hope House. “It was important for us to find ways to help our members to live a longer, healthier life.”

To reach this goal, Gathering Hope House contacted the Lorain County General Health District. The health district works with community organizations to make small changes that have big health impacts.

“There are a lot of small changes that organizations can begin to help make the healthy choice, the easy choice,” explains Marissa Wayner, health educator with the Lorain County General Health District. “Gathering Hope House has made many small changes that have already improved the health of their members.” Karen, for example, is a member of Gathering Hope House whose doctor encouraged her to eat healthy and exercise in order to relieve symptoms of her prediabetes, mental health concerns, and thyroid issues. Additionally, healthy lifestyle changes could also help to prevent diabetes and other chronic diseases.

Through a combination of changes at Gathering Hope House and those that Karen made on her own, Karen has been making healthy lifestyle changes one step at a time.
For example:

  • Staying active - On her own, Karen keeps track of her steps with a pedometer to help stay motivated. Gathering Hope House added a fitness center so members like Karen can get active, even if they can’t make it to a gym.
  • Staying hydrated - Karen adds lemon to her water to help avoid sugary drinks. Gathering Hope House asked the health district to help them start a Water First For Thirst campaign to motivate all their members to drink more water.
  • Eating healthy - Karen started snacking on fruits like oranges to eat healthier foods. Gathering Hope House worked with the health district to add a healthy vending machine so healthy snacks are more easily available for all members.
  • Getting motivated - Karen is motivated by focusing on the goal to fit into her once-favorite (smaller) clothes. Gathering Hope House helps its members stay motivated as a host-site for the Diabetes Prevention Program, a class supported by the health district that helps members lose weight and encourage each other.

The best thing about Gathering Hope House’s small changes toward health is that they are sustainable. The fitness center, new water stations, vending machine, and support from the Diabetes Prevention Program won’t go away, which means that members’ physical and mental health will benefit for years to come.

Want to make some small yet mighty healthy changes in your organization or business? Call the health district at 440-322-6367 and ask for a health educator.