Quotes from trained Help Yourself program leaders: 

  • “What I learned is it doesn’t take a nurse or doctor to go through the course. It’s a supportive effort that helps people deal with their problems by getting a healthier outlook,” said Susan Shearer, a nurse working with insurance companies that are part of UMWA funds. “It’s so important to learn to set small, reasonable goals and learn to work with others to overcome barriers.”
  • “This course was great. I can’t wait to take it back to my beneficiaries,” said UMWA nurse Joni Campbell, who flew in from Utah to take advantage of the Stanford University program, now being offered by professional trainers from Marshall University.
  • “There’s a lot of good research in this program, and I’m excited that so many of our partner agencies participated in the training,” said Garnet Wooten, funds program manager of community health nursing.  “It’s for anyone with a chronic disease…it isn’t just about diabetes. It can be heart and pulmonary problems, obesity, cancer recovery and even the day-to-day concerns of the natural aging process”, Wooten said.  “If you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired and want to take control of your life, then this program is for you.”
  • Linda Stein was trained in the first leaders training at the beginning of the Robert Wood Johnson grant.  As the Chronic Disease Coordinator at New River Health Association, she commented, “The Help Yourself program has changed my career and has become the basis of how I see the delivery of health care to our aging patients.  It has provided me with a vast new view on how I approach patients and the way I interact with them in Medical Group Visits, in one-on-one patient encounters and in other group settings.    I am more able to help them look at their behaviors and determine what action they may be ready to take. 

It has also helped me change my thinking about my own health and allowed me to accept my chronic condition and move from guilt to action.  I learned:  It is what it is…. so now what can I do about it?  It not only helped me to take action but to normalize what I was feeling and that it’s nothing to be ashamed about.  I can share this with patients and they understand that I’ve been struggling too and found this program helpful.”


Quotes from Help Yourself patient workshop letters:

  • I looked forward to each of our 6 classes.  The program gave me tools such as:  setting goals, learning to relax, communication skills and handling frustration and anger.  I know what I can do to develop and keep a positive attitude. 

– Mary  3/9/2004

  • When I first began the class I thought I was doing all I could to control the pain but what I found out was that the pain was really controlling me.  Talking and listening to others as a group was inspiring and I really learned a lot.  I now know much more to do to manage my symptoms.  I’m sorry the class ended. 

          Gilberta  8/9/2005

  • I learned how to eat right and exercise and walk regularly.  I was walking with a cane when I first started with this program and I have weened off the cane and finally am able to walk up to 2 miles twice a week.  It helped strengthen me and find muscles I didn’t know I had.  But it didn’t happen overnight.  Please, before saying no, try it. 


  • I feel that I have received a whole new way of looking at my types of disease.  I feel like I’m a used car and I’m trying to find the best way of making me work.  The best way that I can learn.  I’ve learned how to do things differently, to try to be positive.  I learned a whole lot of different ways to work on my self help.  I learned how to relax, to exercise along with my breathing as well as how to make meals work for me not against me and to do the best I can. 


  • I feel the most important thing I’ve gained from this workshop is the Action Plan we set each week.  This has helped me tremendously get back to regularly exercising and setting other goals.  It evern helped me with my housework this weekend.  I will continue with these action plans and feel I will be more organized having attended this class.


  • I plan to use many of the things I’ve learned to manage my mental and physical health in a more positive and constructive way.  Learning about the symptom cycle and that it can affect everyone and ways you can break that cycle was very eye opening and something I now give attention to.  I have begun to keep a food journal and a journal to explore my thinking and emotions.   The journal is an example of the help from the class discussion.  I had read many times that this could be beneficial, but by setting this as my action plan I finally started one.   After a few weeks it was recommended to me by another member of the group to give myself praise in my journal for various accomplishments, so that I could look back on these when my motivation started weakening.  I realized then that I had been using my journal for only the negative and frustrating things in my life and began to include praise and the positive, which has already proven to be very encouraging to me.  I am also using my journal as a way to identify any negative self-talk that I say to myself and working on changing that positive message.


  • An area I received tremendous support was my struggle with healthier eating.  I had it in my mind that I hated vegetables.  They did a problem solving session for me and gave me many wonderful ideas and recipes to try.  I’ve been using these day and have made a big change in my eating patterns.  I am ENJOYING 2-6 servings of fruits and vegetables daily and have lost 10 pounds since the classes began.  I have also begun a regular exercise program.  I am walking 30 minutes 4-5 days a week.  This has helped me to feel better mentally and physically and I know aided in my weight loss. 


  • I am going to continue making weekly action plans for myself so that I can stay focused on improving my health and lifestyle.  I feel I am better equipped to handle my health problems and problem solve with the sills were taught and practiced throughout the class.