The Diabetes and Mental Health Peer Support Training Module was evaluated by Dr. Cheryl Forchuk, BScN, BA – Psychology, MScN, PhD, of the University of Western Ontario and Lawson Health Research Institute, and Amanda Meier, BA, Research Coordinator, Lawson Health Research Institute.

Findings from the evaluation were used to revise the training module before it was published and distributed provincially.

The following diagram shows the planned evaluation steps during this project:

Evaluation Timeline
[Click image to see full-size view. Opens in new window.]

Final Evaluation Report

» Download the Final Diabetes and Mental Health Evaluation Report 2012 (PDF)

Executive Summary

Previous literature has demonstrated that there is a correlation between diabetes and mental illness, a link between antipsychotic medication and the development of diabetes in mental health patients, and evidence of lower quality of diabetic care for individuals with serious mental illness. It is therefore necessary to educate the mental health sector on the risk of developing diabetes and on the need for self-management of diabetes.

Diabetes and Mental Health Peer Support Training Module

A Diabetes and Mental Health Peer Support Training Module was developed with two main objectives:

  1. To increase the skills of mental health peer support workers in providing support for the prevention and self-management of diabetes in people living with serious mental illness.
  2. To increase awareness in the diabetes community of the role mental health peer support workers can play in prevention and self-management support.

The Diabetes and Mental Health Peer Support Training Module was pilot tested by peer support workers affiliated with Ontario Peer Development Initiative (OPDI) member consumer/survivor initiatives (CSIs) within eight regions across Ontario. Two complementary modules were developed: a “Train the Trainer” module to train one trainer per region and a “Regional Training Session” module to train numerous peer support workers per region.

Evaluation Strategy

An evaluation of the project was conducted by Dr. Cheryl Forchuk and Amanda Meier of Lawson Health Research Institute. The purpose of the evaluation was to receive feedback from participants on diabetes knowledge, on what should remain the same in the training modules, and on what should be changed in the modules. This feedback will be used to revise the modules that will be distributed provincially. A variety of evaluation methods were used:

  1. A one-on-one telephone interview was administered to evaluate the “Train the Trainer” module.
  2. A Diabetes Knowledge Test was administered to evaluate the level of diabetes knowledge obtained during the “Regional Training Session” module.
  3. Focus groups were held to receive feedback on the “Regional Training Session” module.
  4. Online follow-up surveys were administered to gain insight into how participants used the knowledge and supports one-year post-training.


Results for both the “Train the Trainer” module and “Regional Training Session” module were very positive. Participants expressed increased knowledge and enjoyment from the training sessions. Evaluation of diabetes knowledge for both modules indicated the importance of covering core diabetes knowledge in the training modules. Participants were still lacking in some diabetes knowledge post-training and expressed a desire to spend more time learning about core diabetes information. Other feedback for the “Train the Trainer” module included the suggestion for more time spent on rehearsing group facilitation. Other feedback for the “Regional Training Session” module included requests for lengthier training modules, more time spent on role-playing in peer support roles and additional materials and refresher courses offered in future.


Overall, the project increased diabetes knowledge for peer support workers and increased confidence for peer support workers to speak about diabetes and mental illness at their CSIs. Feedback from participants was generally positive and any critiques were valuable in forming recommendations for future training modules.

Download the Final Diabetes and Mental Health Evaluation Report 2012 (PDF) for detailed recommendations.