February 17, 2010
Arlington, VA, —The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has launched a new health education program to promote sound "mind and body" health practices among individuals who live with serious mental illness.
The "Hearts and Minds" initiative takes aim at risk factors like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking and obesity for major illnesses such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
“Hearts and Minds" is funded by OptumHealth and the
The self-help program's focus on wellness will inspire health and fitness practices familiar to many Americans—such as diet, exercise and smoking cessation. The main difference is the size of the challenge.
"Wellness is everyone’s concern," said NAMI Executive Director
People living with serious mental illness such as major depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia live on average 25 years less than other Americans.
The program consists of five key components:
"Many kinds of risk factors contribute to health challenges for people with mental illnesses," said NAMI Medical Director
"They include isolation, relatively low incomes, sedentary lifestyles, smoking as a form of self-medication and the side-effects of some medications for mental illness."
"There has been significant progress in treatment options for mental illness to support recovery, but for every individual, each option requires careful assessment of benefits and risks."
"Hearts and Minds will empower people to minimize and manage health risks to support wellness and recovery,” Duckworth said.
"Strong partnerships can create new resources and opportunities to help people with mental illness live full and productive lives," said Andy Sekel, executive vice president, OptumHealth. "We are proud to sponsor NAMI's 'Hearts and Minds' education program because it bridges mental and physical health to address the needs of the whole person."
"Persons with mental illnesses deserve to live a full and healthy life," said Steven A. Schroeder, M.D., director of the
"'Hearts and Minds' includes a timely video that provides helpful suggestions for how to attain wellness. It should be watched by all persons affected by mental illness, including family members and other loved ones."
NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) is the nation's largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness. NAMI has over 1100 state and local affiliates that engage in research, education, support and advocacy. For more information see www.nami.org
OptumHealth Inc. helps individuals navigate the health care system, finance their health care needs and achieve their health and well-being goals. The company’s personalized health advocacy and engagement programs tap a unique combination of capabilities that encompass public sector solutions, care solutions, behavioral solutions, specialty benefits and financial services. Serving nearly 60 million people, OptumHealth is one of the nation’s largest health and wellness businesses, and is a UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) company. More information about OptumHealth can be found at www.optumhealth.com.
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