On July 1st, the STEPS to Better Health program will begin a three-year renewed funding award from the St. Louis Mental Health Board (MHB). Now entering its tenth year, this program was incubated at MHB in 2010, as one of the few agency programs targeted to U.S.-born consumers – specifically ethnic and racial minority consumers suffering from comorbid health and mental health conditions. This holistic, clinical project has to date served nearly 500 such consumers, who seek to improve both physical and mental health outcomes.
STEPS primarily serves African American residents of St. Louis City, with a very small percentage of Limited English Proficient (LEP) minority consumers finding their way into the program as well. Participants enter a home-based 16-week program where they learn about proper nutrition, regular exercise, and different motivational techniques. After working with nurses, licensed therapists and other professionals, clients leave the program with improved biometrics, a new, healthier lifestyle, and the practical and psychoeducational tools to maintain that lifestyle without the support of the program. This year, Bilingual International Assistant Services is reducing the age eligibility threshold from 45+ to 30+ to meet the need that we are being confronted with by our referral partners in the primary care sector. Including this younger demographic allows us to reach more consumers coping with comorbid conditions for earlier interventions in the communities we already serve.
By partnering with the MHB we are able to better address the priorities of these marginalized communities with coordinated social, behavioral, and physical health services. We look forward to continuing this partnership over the next three years and working together to raise the quality of life for African American and LEP residents of St. Louis City.