On September 17, 2012, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) will launch National Wellness Week, which runs until September 23, as part of National Recovery Month. National Wellness Week encourages individuals, families, behavioral health and primary care providers, peer-run, faith-based and other community organizations to improve health behaviors. SAMHSA promotes incorporating “Eight Dimensions of Wellness” as a holistic guide to physical and mental wellness. These Eight Dimensions include: Emotional, Environmental, Financial, Intellectual, Occupational, Physical, Social and Spiritual.
Wellness is important for people with behavioral health issues. People with mental and substance use disorders die decades earlier than the general population, mostly due to preventable medical conditions. Wellness means overall well-being and it can incorporate the mental, emotional, physical, occupational, intellectual, and spiritual aspects of a person’s life. This is important for people with mental and substance use disorders because wellness directly relates to the quality and longevity of their lives.
In order to support SAMHA’s National Wellness Week, ABHW has signed the Pledge for Wellness in order to promote wellness for people with mental and substance use disorders by taking action to improve the quality of life and reduce early mortality.
In addition to signing the Pledge for Wellness, ABHW recommends several other activities that can be done to observe National Wellness Week.
- A newsletter, press release or flyer can be sent out with information on SAMHSA’s National Wellness Week, notifying others of your organization’s commitment to Wellness Week and encouraging people to sign the wellness pledge.
- Inform your members and staff about the Wellness Works Initiative which encourages the submission of a piece of original creative work such as a poem, visual art, a song, or a digital video that expresses what wellness means in your life and for your community. Submissions help raise public awareness about the importance of embracing a wellness-based perspective, in mental health services as well as in communities at large submissions are due to email@example.com by September 9th, and more information regarding the submission criteria can be found here.
- Host lunch and learns throughout the week following SAMHSA’s suggested schedule of events, including the eight dimensions of wellness.
- Host workshops teaching stress management techniques or relaxation techniques in support of wellness or host a “Fitness Friday” by promoting physical activities for employees and providing ideas for people to stay active once cooler temperatures arrive.
- Host an “Ask the Provider” educational session by having a health care provider—psychiatrist, psychologist or Psychopharmacologists—answer any questions.
Please let ABHW know how your organization embraced National Wellness Week – we’d love to hear about other creative and successful efforts. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Joint Paper: Preserve Specialty Behavioral Health Option for the Dual Eligible Population (July 2012)
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