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Achieving Harmony: The Power of Peer Support in Whole Health Action Management

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Larry Fricks

Deputy Director for SAMHSA-HRSA Center for Integrated Health Solutions

Achieving Harmony: The Power of Peer Support in Whole Health Action Management

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Solo artists make it look easy, but playing music isn’t a one-person show. Artists from Bob Dylan to George Michael to Britney Spears to Justin Bieber all depend on the efforts of professional musicians to accompany them live and in the studio. Artists rarely carry the heavy weight of performance by themselves.

Similarly, one person asked to meet a goal is less likely to reach that goal than a team. If you want to inspire a lifestyle change in your customers, you may want to consider WHAM as a solution.

Whole Health Action Management, or WHAM, is a peer-centered program developed by the SAMHSA-HRSA Center for Integrated Health Solutions to promote whole health self-management. Peers are encouraged to partner and identify strengths, develop weekly action plans and work together using positive reinforcement to meet a goal. Rather than work alone, WHAM encourages participants to collaborate and support others’ efforts.

From battling addiction to losing weight to developing a new daily routine, WHAM is useful for anyone making a change. The program’s simplicity makes it adaptable and user friendly.

Administrators will find WHAM easy to use and implement. WHAM’s planning stage uses 10 science-based whole health and resiliency factors to identify strengths and supports. During the program, participants learn basic health screens and work with health care professionals to make decisions. Each milestone is celebrated with congratulations from peers and a positive outlook.

So far, WHAM has been administered in 30 states to more than 3000 participants. Preliminary research by Dr. Judith Cook at University of Illinois at Chicago revealed that a peer-led WHAM intervention delivers on new health behavior.

If you are interested in learning more about WHAM, contact Rose Felipe at RoseF@TheNationalCouncil.org. Learn how WHAM can change the behavior of your customers and encourage future interaction.

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