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Health & Wellness

Hearts and Minds: Mentally Healthy/Physically Strong

"Healthy citizens are the greatest asset any country can have." --Winston Churchill

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.

Living a healthy lifestyle has many benefits - not all physical. When everything is working together - when your body and your mind are strong - you have more energy and self-confidence and can take more control of your life. For people who live with mental illness, a healthy lifestyle is especially important. Sometimes, it is easy to become so focused on treating a mental illness that physical health is neglected. But having a healthy body contributes to emotional recovery. Eating the right foods, exercising, finding ways to manage stress, getting enough rest and having friends and activities that you enjoy are all part of healthy living.

hearts-and-minds-womanResearch has demonstrated that people living with severe psychiatric conditions may have an increased risk of heart disease and related conditions. For this reason NAMI has designed the Hearts and Minds program. The information contained in the Hearts and Minds booklet and DVD can assist you as you look at your total well-being. “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 and 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.

Program Components:

  • An interactive Hearts and Minds website including discussion groups
  • A facilitator's guide and toolkit for local community discussions
  • A DVD that can be downloaded or purchased through NAMI's online store
  • A booklet on health strategies and risks that can also be downloaded or purchased
  • Printed fact sheets on a broad range of topics

Resources:

Also, visit NAMI National Hearts and Minds website, www.nami.org/heartsandminds for more info.

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NAMI Utah
1600 West 2200 South, Suite #202
West Valley City, UT 84119
(801) 323-9900

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If you have an emergency, please call 911 and ask for a CIT officer. If you are dealing with an urgent situation, please call the Behavioral Health Authority Crisis Line for your county. The Salt Lake County UNI Crisis Line is 801-587-3000. 

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If you or someone you love is in need of suicide prevention support, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or visit the website for more info.

suicidepreventionlifeline.org