The Florida Medicaid Drug Therapy Management Program for Behavioral Health is committed to improving the physical health of persons with serious mental illness through producing monitoring guidelines for providers - A Summary for Monitoring Physical Health and Side-Effects of Psychiatric Medications in the Severely Mentally Ill Population; supporting the integration of behavioral and physical health care and services; and promoting programs that address all dimensions of health and wellness in this population.
Persons with serious mental illness have a 13 to 20-year shorted life expectancy, often dying from physical health conditions that could be prevented and/or managed with better access to and quality of care, and exposure to interventions that address life-style factors such as smoking, being overweight or obese, poor nutrition, and lack of exercise.
To address these issues, we provide below a list of resources for providers and agencies to consider when developing their programs and services for persons with serious mental illness.
Improving the physical health of consumers involves at minimum a sustained effort (if needed) to lose weight, improve nutrition, increase physical activity, and quit smoking. However, physical health is but one dimension of a wellness or whole health model.
Whole health programs address not only physical health of the person but other dimensions of wellness that impact well-being and recovery. In September 2014, we implemented a pilot test of a whole health program at a community mental health center based on a modification of SAMHSA's Whole Health Action Management (WHAM) Program. THE NOW (Total Health Experience: Nurturing Our Wellness) program is led by Certified Peer Recovery Specialists (CRPS) who provide clients with serious mental illness: 1) Education and activities on whole health and weight management; 2) Weekly support groups; and 3) Weekly individualized health coaching. The pilot test will last six months after which clients will become fully self-directed and autonomous in their wellness efforts, meeting and supporting each other in achieving their wellness goals. Our evaluation of the pilot study will be made available online in June 2015.
For more information, please contact Kai LeMasson at [email protected] or (813) 974-1874.