Although mental health/behavioral problems, such as depression/anxiety disorders and attention deficit/ hyperactivity disorder, now affect approximately 1 in 4 children, adolescents and young adults, less than 25% receive any treatment. Overweight and obesity affects approximately 32 percent of children and adolescents, with higher prevalence rates in minority populations.
Furthermore, mental health problems are often co-morbid with overweight, and the prevalence of mental health problems is higher in vulnerable populations. Evidence-based interventions are urgently needed to enhance mental health/coping outcomes in these high risk populations and reduce healthcare costs. Dr. Bernadette Melnyk has developed and tested a series of intervention programs called COPE (Creating Opportunities for Personal Empowerment) to improve the mental/behavioral health outcomes and healthy lifestyle behaviors in at-risk populations. The COPE Programs are manualized so that they can be readily implemented by clinicians in healthcare settings and teachers in schools to improve outcomes in children, adolescents and college students/young adults.
The COPE Programs teach children, teenagers and young adults that how they think is directly related to how they feel and how they behave.
The program also teaches children and teens about healthy lifestyle choices/behaviors and reinforces that everyone has stress that has to be dealt with.
The program also takes critical components from cognitive-behavioral therapy and formats them in an easy to administer cognitive-behavior skills building program that can be delivered by a variety of healthcare and educational professionals, including teachers, nurses, counselors and social workers, after a day of training.