Programs and Initiatives in Communities Mobility Diabetes Prevention Program Curriculum Adaptation Project

Programs & Initiatives in Communities
Mental Illness Diabetes Prevention Program Curriculum Adaptation

Everyone is unique in how they receive and interpret health information, which is why it needs to be relatable and accessible to everyone, including those with mental illnesses.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Diabetes Unit and the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) Mental Health Division want to reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes and improve health among this population. To do this, the two units are partnering with three clubhouses that will serve as settings to provide an adapted version of the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP).

Diabetes Prevention Program

While one in three Minnesota adults have prediabetes, most don’t even know they have the disease. Prediabetes means blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be called diabetes. The Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) is led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and encourages lifestyle changes such as healthier eating, more physical activity, and improved problem-solving and coping skills.

The DPP has been proven to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes among people with prediabetes by helping them lose 5 to 7 percent of their body weight and increase their physical activity. Without intervention, people with prediabetes are likelier to develop type 2 diabetes, which is a leading cause of death and disability in the U.S.

Addressing the needs of those with mental illness

Research has shown that individuals with serious mental illness (SMI) who are on public health programs die nearly 25 years before their peers without SMI. One of the major causes of this early mortality is complications from diabetes.
Individuals with mental illnesses experience unemployment and food insecurity at higher rates than the general population. Adults with mental illnesses face additional barriers in maintaining physical health, which is why we are working to modify the DPP for this community.

Goals of the initiative

The primary goal of this initiative is to understand the successes and challenges of implementing this adapted version of the DPP. From there we can develop a model for expansion. Additional goals include:

  • Work toward a healthy weight for adults with SMI
  • Lower the risk of type 2 diabetes for adults with SMI
  • Increase participation in the DPP among people with SMI
  • Increase referrals to clubhouses providing the DPP
  • Increase awareness and understanding of how the DPP can be successfully modified and implemented among populations with unique needs


Minnesota Department of Health – Diabetes Unit
Minnesota Department of Human Services – Mental Health Division
Western Mental Health Center (Marshall)
Southwestern Mental Health Center (Luverne)
Vail Place – Minnesota Mental Health Clubhouse (Minneapolis)

Additional Resources

To learn more about the DPP visit Programs & Initiatives in Communities – Diabetes Prevention and Management Programs.

To learn more about the Diabetes Prevention Program curriculum adaptation for those with mental illness, please contact Ann Schulte at