What is CDSMP?

The Chronic Disease Self-Management Program is a 6-session, lay-led health education program for people with one or more chronic conditions. The purpose of the Help Yourself workshops is: (1) to help people take day-to-day responsibility for their care and (2) to increase the skills necessary to manage their diseases and work effectively with their health care professionals.  In addition, they learn problem-solving and decision-making skills which enable them to confront the ever-changing challenges of living with a chronic illness. There is a Help Yourself Diabetes Self-Management Workshop that also teaches the skills related to taking care of the daily tasks of living with diabetes. Both programs are 6 workshops facilitated by two leaders, one or both of whom are trained lay people who themselves have a chronic condition.  Participants are invited to bring a family member or friend.

Who developed CDSMP?

The Chronic Disease Self-Management Program was created at Stanford University by Kate Lorigin a randomized, controlled trial by the Patient Education Research Center at the Stanford University School of Medicine.  In WV we market the program as Help Yourself and follow all Stanford’s program guidelines and maintains fidelity to the original program intent. All program components of the class have been medically approved.


What does the workshop cover?

The program content includes:

  • Developing and maintaining a long-term exercise program
  • Fatigue management
  • Dealing with anger, depression, and other negative emotions
  • Cognitive management of pain and stress
  • Communication with family/friends/physicians
  • Using prescribed medication appropriately
  • Healthy eating
  • Making informed treatment decisions
  • Developing decision-making and problem-solving skills


Who should take CDSMP?

Everyone can benefit from learning skills to coordinate all the activities needed to manage their health, as well as to help them maintain a full and active life.

Appropriate chronic conditions include heart disease, lung disease, arthritis, stroke, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue syndrome, or asthma. It is very useful for people with chronic conditions struggling with weight management issues. The program is especially helpful for people that have more than one chronic condition.

The class is beneficial for people who are newly diagnosed or individuals that have been coping with their condition for many years.


How effective is CDSMP ?

A randomized study of 1000 people demonstrated significant changes in:


    Health status –

    • Less fatigue
    • Less disability
    • Improved role function
    • 0.8 fewer days in the hospital

        Self-management –

        • Increased minutes of exercise
        • Increased use of cognitive pain and stress-management techniques
        • Improved communication with their physicians
        • More confidence in their ability to manage their conditions


        Who are the volunteer leaders and how are they trained ?


        Anyone with an interest in healthy aging who wants to help others in their community can be trained and supported to become a Help Yourself Leader.  Workshop leaders can be professionals or lay persons with one or more chronic conditions.  A 4-day leader’s training, led by a pair of “Master Trainers” (often health care professionals) is required.  Each trainee receives a detailed leader’s manual that serves as a step-by-step guide for teaching the program.  Leaders are supported with all the resources needed to lead a workshop and lay leaders receive gas stipends to cover the cost of attending training and workshops.