Your Health Matters!

Your Health Matters

Researchers report that those living with a serious and persistent mental illness have life expectancies 15-20 years lower than the general population.

There are many reasons for this including, tobacco use.  Roughly 75% of people with serious and persistent mental illness are dependent on tobacco.   In turn, long-term tobacco use is correlated with major chronic illness, eg cancer, pulmonary disease, cardiovascular disease, bone and joint disease, and oral disease.

Other causes that are correlated with serious and persistent mental illness are unstable housing, unemployment and reduced motivation to care for oneself.  Poor self-care in turn leads to increased use of emergency rooms and inpatient care.

In addition, the Center for Disease Control reports that up to 1/3 of individuals living with a chronic illness also suffer depression.  The reason for increased depression in the chronically ill is partly due to alterations in lifestyles, decreased energy levels and mobility, less involvement in enjoyable activities, side effects of treatment, and social isolation.

Health care professionals often overlook and/or take longer to diagnose depression in the chronically ill, as their primary focus is most often on the chronic illness.

What can we do to help individuals who are struggling with medical conditions AND mental health issues?

MHA’s Your Health Matters care management team helps people to:

– Ensure that basic needs (stable housing, food, and entitlements) are met.  This is very important because it is nearly impossible for an individual to focus on anything else if basic needs are not covered.

– Understand their illness.  With knowledge comes the ability to recognize potential problems and seek help/treatment early.

– Obtain special equipment that is needed to monitor their illness (blood pressure devices, blood sugar devices) and to self- manage their care.

– Maintain contact with health care professionals to obtain regular health screenings

– Connect people to social supports that will foster emotional wellbeing (and by extension physical health)

– Collaborate with clients, families and community providers to ensure individuals have the support they need to reach their highest level of “wellness”

-Help coordinate discharge planning

-Provide service dollars to support health-related goals for eligible individuals

For more information on how Your Health Matters can help you or a loved one, please call 845-267-2172, x278.

Tonia Dimbo

Care Management Supervisor





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