In recent history, it has been shown that adults with a serious mental illness diagnosis die, on average, 25 years earlier than the general population. For the most part, this health disparity rears its ugly head through chronic physical health conditions, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity.
In 2013, the MHR’s leadership decided to tackle this disheartening reality for the people we serve. We have developed initiatives to address tobacco use and access to dental care. We are pursuing avenues to connect more folks to community clinics and FQHCs. And most recently, we have been selected as a participant in the InSHAPE Implementation Project led by Dr. Steve Bartels at The Dartmouth Institute Geisel School of Medicine and funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).
InSHAPE is a wellness program designed to improve the physical health of people with serious mental illness diagnoses. This evidence-based practice was developed in 2003 by Dr. Ken Jue, who saw the need to develop a program to address the increasing gap in lifespan for his clients.
Through the InSHAPE Program, clients have access to:
- An Individualized fitness and healthy lifestyle assessment
- Weekly one-on-one meetings with a Health Mentor, a certified fitness training who assists in developing a fitness plan consisting of wellness goals and behaviorally specific health eating and exercise objectives
- Membership in a local fitness facility
- Nutrition education and opportunities to participate in health eating activities
- Triannual motivational “celebrations”
A key to the success of the program is the assignment of a Health Mentor. MHR’s Megan Schmidt has enthusiastically transitioned into this new role. Megan came to MHR in 2011 with degrees in psychology and exercise science. Her extensive experience in working with adults with serious mental illness on MHR’s Metro Intensive Treatment Team, deep passion for healthy living, and uplifting demeanor make her a great fit for this role.
MHR’s InSHAPE team returns from training at Dartmouth today; eager to recruit participants for this life changing program. You can learn more about InSHAPE at http://www.kenjue.com/inshape/. We look forward to sharing our clients’ stories as they participate with this inspirational program.