A National Call to Action for the Wellness of People with Mental Health Problems
The early mortality rates of people with serious mental health problems—with decades of life lost—have recently received much-needed attention. This disparity in life expectancy is unacceptable. People with mental health problems deserve to live lives that are as long and as healthy as other Americans.
As the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD) Medical Director's Council reported the “increased morbidity and mortality are largely due to treatable medical conditions that are caused by modifiable risk factors such as smoking, obesity, substance abuse, and inadequate access to medical care.”
Among the variety of causative factors resulting in this disparity are: higher rates of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, respiratory disease, and infectious disease (including HIV); higher risk factors due to high rates of smoking, substance abuse, obesity, and “unsafe” sexual practices; increased vulnerability due to poverty, social isolation, trauma, and incarceration; a lack of coordination between mental and primary healthcare; stigma and discrimination; side effects from psychotropic medications; and an overall lack of access to healthcare—particularly preventative care. In addition to the tragedy of early death, it should also be noted that the higher rates of acuity of health conditions result in greater health costs to the nation.
Colorado Office of Behavioral Health has committed to the 10x10 Wellness Pledge, a national call to action for wellness of people with mental and substance use disorders. In doing so, Colorado Office of Behavioral Health seeks to support community-based programs in their quest of promoting the Eight Dimensions of Wellness: http://www.promoteacceptance.samhsa.gov/10by10/default.aspx - 8Dimensions
The steering committee for this statewide 10x10 Wellness effort has identified it’s first task, the creation of this informational link on the OBH website, providing SAMHSA-based Wellness Tools, publicizing a community-based event calendar, as well as providing an opportunity for providers to share ideas that have been effective in their own communities (“Let’s not reinvent the wheel”).
The following Tools are available on the 10x10 Wellness website:
The Colorado Office of Behavioral Health seeks to collaborate with sister Departments with common goals. The Department of Healthcare, Policy and Financing offer more information for increasing our Coloradoans' access to health and wellness opportunities. For more information click here.
For more information, contact Ann Seanor, Manager, Older Adult Intervention Programs, 303-866-7431, Ann.Seanor@state.co.us