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To manage mental illness, free on-line video and workbook focus on diet, exercise, smoking cessation

April 20, 2007

Arlington, VA—Treating mental illness does not depend on medication or talk therapy alone. It’s a matter of mind and body, especially the heart.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is making its “Hearts and Minds” program available for the first time, free of charge, through a video and workbook at

“Too often, the medical profession and society focus on mental illness alone—which may stigmatize a person.Any individual living with a mental illness needs to be treated as a whole person,“ said NAMI medical director Ken Duckworth, M.D., who narrates the video.”

The Hearts & Minds program supports self-management of chronic illnesses such as major depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia through a comprehensive approach that focuses on whole body health, including diet, exercise, and smoking cessation.

“You should never have to choose between a healthy mind and a healthy body,” says a woman in the video.

“Everything has to work together in order for you to be well. You have to take care of yourself from the top of your head to the soles of your feet.”

People with mental illnesses are more prone to die from heart disease than the general population.  This is due to higher levels of smoking, diabetes, poor diet and inactivity, all things that people have control over, but pose greater challenges when mental illness is involved.

The 26 page workbook offers shopping tips, a food substitution guide, recipes from a variety of cultures, and general healthcare guidelines. The 13 minute video features commentary about the importance of healthy lifestyles from both men and women who have made positive changes in their lives.

NOTE  TO EDITORS: Video available on-line. Dr. Duckworth is available for interview.         


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