SAMHSA-HRSA Wellness Strategies for People w Psych Disabilities

NYAPRS Note: The following page is chock full of resources to share with people with psychiatric disabilities who experience health challenges and/or a desire to improve their health and wellness. If you can’t use the links in the article, see the original web page at

Wellness Strategies

 Healthy Eating

Leading Health Indicators for Healthy People 2010
For the past three decades, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has issued a national agenda aimed at improving the health of all Americans over each 10-year span. The report recommends 12 topics, 12 indicators, and 24 objectives that that can be used to create a focus on major health concerns for the U.S. population.

Food Education for People with Serious Psychiatric Disabilities is designed to guide rehabilitation practitioners in helping people with psychiatric disabilities to learn good nutrition and healthy eating practices and to empower people with serious psychiatric disabilities to achieve nutritional health as a resource for recovery.  NOTE: The Food Education curriculum includes an instructor's copy of the student handouts. Citation: Books, A. (2009). Food education for people with serious psychiatric disabilities: An evidence-based recovery curriculum. Boston: Boston University Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation.

National Center on Physical Activity and Disability created a fact sheet entitled, “Food and your Mood: Nutrition and Mental Health.” 

Food Education, A Curriculum to Assist people with Psychiatric Disabilities to eat well,  Boston University, nutrition and fitness center and center for psychiatric rehabilitation


Stress Management   

The Relaxation Response
The founder of the Benson-Henry Institute (BHI) is Dr. Herbert Benson, a Harvard Medical School trained cardiologist. His work pioneered mind/body medicine by linking stress to physical health. Dr. Benson’s research found that by changing thought patterns, subjects experienced decreases in their metabolism, rate of breathing and heart rate, and had slower brain waves. These changes appeared to be the opposite of the commonly known “fight-or-flight,” or “stress response”, and Dr. Benson labeled it the “relaxation response” which is the foundation of mind/body medicine practiced at BHI. Dr. Benson is the author or co-author of more than 175 scientific publications and 11 books. How does one elicit the relaxation response?

To elicit the relaxation response there are two essential steps:

- Repetition of a word, sound, phrase, or muscular activity.

- Passive disregard of everyday thoughts that inevitably come to mind and the return to your repetition.

For more information Dr. Herbert Benson's " The Relaxation Response" please use this link.


Physical activity

Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans 
The Federal Government has issued its first-ever Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. They describe the types and amounts of physical activity that offer substantial health benefits to Americans.

The Center for Disease Control reports, "Regular physical activity helps improve your overall health and fitness, and reduces your risk for many chronic diseases. Fitting regular exercise into your daily schedule may seem difficult at first, but the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans are more flexible than ever, giving you the freedom to reach your physical activity goals through different types and amounts of activities each week."

Physical Activity and Physical Disability 
Access the National Center on Physical Activity and Disability for the latest information, resources, and research.

National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) is the Federal Government's lead agency for scientific research on the diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not generally considered part of conventional medicine. View the website and their evidence based information on complementary and alternative medicine.



Availability of Asian language substance abuse treatment counselors varies by region. 
The number of substance abuse treatment services tailored to various Asian cultures are not distributed evenly in the United States. Click here to read the full fact sheet.

SAMHSA Blog: Recovery Defined - A Unified Working Definition and Set of Principles
In August 2010, leaders in the behavioral health field, including people in recovery from mental health and addiction problems and SAMHSA met to explore the development of a common, unified definition of recovery. “Recovery is a process of change whereby individuals work to improve their own health and wellness and to live a meaningful life in a community of their choice while striving to achieve their full potential.” Click here to check out the full blog posting and the guiding principles of Recovery.


Wellness Informed Care



InShape is a wellness program 
for individuals with mental illness. The goal of In SHAPE is to improve physical health and quality of life, reduce the risk of preventable diseases, and enhance the life expectancy of individuals with serious mental illness. Studies show that individuals with severe and persistent mental illness such as schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder are at increased risk of chronic diseases including diabetes, hypertension, cardio-vascular disease, and nicotine dependence; and they have a lifespan that is 10-20 years shorter than the general population. In SHAPE participants work with a trained health mentor to create a Self Health Action Plan for Employment that includes physical activity, healthy eating goals, and attention to medical needs.


Wellness Self Management 
Wellness Self-Management is a curriculum-based clinical practice designed to assist adults to effectively manage serious mental health problems. The WSM program is based on Illness Management and Recovery (IMR), a nationally recognized evidence-based practice for adults with serious mental health problems. In addition to IMR-related topics such as recovery, mental health wellness, and relapse prevention, the WSM approach includes lessons emphasizing the connection between physical and mental health. It may be helpful to think of WSM as a comprehensive curriculum that covers many topics providing information, knowledge, and skills that help people to make decisions that support recovery. The curriculum is organized into a 57-lesson personal workbook that includes topics such as:

- Understanding what helps and what hinders recovery

- Understanding the connection between physical and mental health

For more information on the Wellness Self Management workbook that was developed by The New York State Office of Mental Health (NYSOMH)and The Urban Institute for Behavioral Health (UBH) check out this site.


Patient Activation Measures
The Patient Activation Measure™ (PAM™) survey assesses the knowledge, skills and confidence integral to managing one's own health and healthcare. With the ability to measure activation and uncover related insights into consumer self-management abilities, care support and education can be more effectively tailored to help individuals become better self managers. 

The Behavioral Health and Wellness Program offers training and consultation to healthcare providers, administrators, and clients. Over the last five years we have worked with over 20 states and have also provided services internationally.


Life Goals Collaborative Care
Life Goals Collaborative Care
 (LGCC) is an evidence-based, consumer-centered program shown to improve health outcomes for persons with bipolar disorder in three separate randomized controlled trials. A central tenet of the program is reducing the separation between physical and mental health through integrated psychotherapy and collaborative care management. LGCC has been recently expanded to other chronic mental disorders (e.g., mood disorders), and found to be effective for those with co-occurring substance use and general medical disorders. View the Life Goals Collaborative Care description here.


Diabetes Management

The Association of Clinicians for the Underserved, ACU, has created educational materials on diabetes. These materials are available in both English and Spanish and include information on how to self- manage diabetes.

The American Diabetes Association Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes. "Diabetes is a chronic illness that requires continuing medical care and patient self-management education to prevent acute complications and to reduce the risk of long term complications. A large body of evidence exist that supports a range of interventions to improve diabetes outcomes."

Read the full position statement at Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes-2009


Diabetes Education Services, Reimbursement Tips for Primary Care Practice
Diabetes self-management education/training is cost effective and improves health outcomes as patients maintain better control of their A1C. Physicians will benefit by establishing a relationship with a diabetes educator who can provide their services for patients with diabetes. This document serves as a guide for reimbursement for diabetes education services.


Treating Mind And Body: Integrating Mental Health And Primary Care Cuts Costs
An article in INFORUM speaks to the importance of integrating mental health and primary care when a patient at Stanford clinic was diagnosed with diabetes. The patient realized she turned to food as an unhealthy form of self-medication for depression, but over the course of her diabetes treatment, she felt strong enough to begin therapy for her depression.  In a normal primary care clinic, there is a one- in-five-chance treatment will result in a decrease of depression symptoms. However, embedding mental health professionals in primary care settings has yielded far better results, with a decrease of symptoms in half the cases on average. Click here

 to read more about integrating mental health and primary care to cut costs.   

Health Literacy

The following sites are excellent resources for guidance on developing health education materials that support health literacy: