People with mental illness die, on average, 25 years earlier than the general population, according to a study by the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors.
It is partially because they have poor access to established monitoring and treatment guidelines for physical health conditions, the association said.
Another factor in premature death is that 42 percent of those with mental illness disorders are obese and fewer than 20 percent of people with schizophrenia engage in regular moderate exercise, said the Center for Integrated Health Solutions.
In addition, one-third to one-half of people with serious mental illness live at or near the federal poverty level and unemployment for those with the most serious illnesses is 90 percent.
The Community Network Services, a nonprofit which has offices in Waterford Township and Farmington Hills, is trying to change that by raising funds at a "Journey to Wellness" fundraising breakfast from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. Oct. 24 at the Auburn Hills Marriott Pontiac Centerpoint in Pontiac.
With the theme, “Connecting Mind and
Body,” CNS aims to raise $50,000 to endow a CNS Wellness Program fund that
will bring chronic disease management, fitness, nutrition, and smoking
cessation resources to benefit the adults with severe mental illness who
receive behavioral health services at CNS.
CNS has been drawn to the wellness mission
based, first of all, on the data that reflect that people with severe
mental illness die 25 years younger than their peers without mental
illness. Secondly, the creation of an
integrated behavioral health/ primary care clinic in partnership with the
Oakland Integrated Healthcare Network in Waterford in March has
generated the synergy to optimize resources to better manage chronic diseases
and offer preventative solutions.
The fundraiser is free, with
no obligation to donate.
The Journey to Wellness breakfast takes place on the 50th anniversary of the initial legislation signed by
President John F. Kennedy creating the community mental health structure.
While the community mental health movement
has come a long way in 50 years, much remains to be done.
"We believe our wellness initiative and the
associated fundraising breakfast represents a significant step forward in
funding solutions that address the total health of those with severe and
persistent mental illness," said Mary Madigan, manager of development and community relations at CNS, which provides services to 5,000 adults annual at the two clinics in Oakland County.
For more information on the fundraiser, call 248 871-1488.
Jerry Wolffe is the Writer-in-Residence & Advocate-at-Large at the Macomb-Oakland Regional Center. He can be reached at 586 263-8950.