Evidence-Based Program: Healthy IDEAS

Healthy IDEAS is an evidence-based program that integrates depression awareness and management into existing case management services provided to older adults. This program addresses depression in older adults often occurring with chronic illness and other losses later in life. Depression can negatively affect older adults’ quality of life and ability to function. Healthy IDEAS screens older adults for symptoms of depression, educates older adults and caregivers about depression, links older adults to primary care and mental health providers and empowers older adults to manage their depression through a behavioral activation approach that encourages involvement in meaningful activities.

Note: Track health promotion program guidance during COVID-19 regularly for updates to program implementation and training options. Programs traditionally implemented in-person may be temporarily allowable by telephone or online.

  • Target audience: Older adults, adults with disabilities
  • Health outcomes:
    • Healthy IDEAS participants experienced a reduction in depression severity and pain. Their knowledge increased about how to get help for depression and how to reduce depression symptoms through increasing activities.
    • Participation in the behavioral activation component of the intervention positively predicted reduction in depression severity scores at 6 months.
    • The Healthy IDEAS program demonstrates that training case managers to deliver an evidence-based practice intervention in real-world conditions reaches the target population and significantly reduces depression symptoms, thereby preventing the excess disability associated with depression and chronic disease.
    • The program demonstrates that an academic and community agency partnership successfully worked together on an intervention that reached a large number of clients. (Quijano, et al. 2007)
  • Delivered by: Social Worker/Mental Health Therapist/Community Health Worker/Care Manager
  • Program type: Individual
  • Format: In-Person at Home, In-Person in Community, Telephone
  • Length: 3 to 6 months includes a minimum of 3 in person visits and five or more telephone contacts
  • Training: Online, In-Person
  • Professional required: No, Trained personnel of differing backgrounds and educational levels can deliver the Healthy IDEAS program. Bachelors- and master’s-level social workers with differing levels of experience have been effectively trained to implement the intervention. In some communities, nurses or case managers with less traditional backgrounds have also been trained. Workers with prior mental health experience are more accustomed to addressing some barriers presented by clients; however; all staff that are open to learning new skills can generally succeed with adequate training and coaching support.
  • Accessibility adaptations available: Yes
  • Cultural adaptations available: No
  • Available in languages other than English: Spanish, Chinese, Korean
  • Topic(s):
    • Physical Activity
    • Substance Use
    • Behavioral Health
    • Chronic Disease
    • Medication Management
    • Pain Management

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