Partners, Champions, & Collaborators
Achieving the goal of the Wellness Initiative will be possible only through the support and commitment of a broad range of individual champions and organizational or government agency collaborators. The following highlights some of the people, organizations, and agencies dedicated to addressing the problem of decreased years of life for people with mental and substance use disorders.
Wellness Initiative Steering Committee and Subcommittees
The Initiative is guided by multidisciplinary Steering Committee and Subcommittees representing people with mental and substance use disorders, people in recovery from mental and substance use disorders, peer-run and community-based organizations, behavioral health care providers, primary care providers, and researchers. The Steering Committee provides strategic direction on communications and community outreach strategies, educational resource development, and evaluation measures.
The Research and Evaluation Subcommittee aims improve the availability and quality of data on mortality, wellness, and related Federal interventions for persons with mental health and substance use disorders.
The Cultural Competence and Inclusion Subcommittee aims to plan, support, and assist organizations, individuals, and communities to ensure that all messages, tools and outreach strategies are culturally informed and appeal to all persons with behavioral health challenges.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Office of Women’s Health
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Office of Women’s Health (OWH) partnered with SAMHSA to bring the Wellness Initiative to life and promote overall physical and mental health through wellness. The FDA/OWH has more than 50 wellness-related fact sheets, brochures, and booklets on a wide range of health topics including heart disease, diabetes, smoking cessation, safe medication use, HIV, HPV, depression, menopause and birth control. The FDA/OWH also runs a Pregnancy Exposure Registry (PER) website. Pregnancy registries collect health information from pregnant women taking prescription medicines. Many have chronic health problems, including mental and substance use disorders. PERs help healthcare practitioners measure medication risks for pregnant women and their developing babies—thereby better informing pregnant women about prescription drug use. Visit the FDA/OWH website to learn more.
The FDA Office of Women’s Health (OWH) has developed over 50 FREE publications to give women and their families timely health information in a clear, easy-to-read format. There are fact sheets, medication booklets, and brochures on topics like diabetes, heart disease, cosmetics, menopause, food safety, mammograms, birth control, and safe medication use. You can download or order free copies of over 40 publications in English and Spanish. You can also download select materials in several Asian languages, Polish, and Arabic.
Sample materials include:
¡Nunca Más! Novelas
The ¡Nunca Más! Novela Health Series was developed by the FDA Office of Women’s Health to educate Hispanic women and their families about the importance of safe medication use. This education is vitally important because each year thousands of injuries and deaths are caused by improper medication use. Many of these injuries could have been prevented. Launched in October 2011, the ¡Nunca Más! initiative provides consumers and community leaders with access to four video novelas and free health materials that convey easy-to-understand messages about safe medication use.
La videonovela sobre salud ¡Nunca Más! fue preparada por la Oficina de Salud de las Mujeres de la Administración de Alimentos y Medicamentos (FDA), para educar a las mujeres latinas sobre el uso seguro de los medicamentos. La novela ¡Nunca Más! presenta los peligros del mal uso de los medicamentos, pero lo más importante es que subraya varios consejos sencillos que pueden seguir las mujeres para el uso adecuado de los medicamentos.
A pregnancy exposure registry is a study that collects health information from women who take medicines and vaccines when they are pregnant and breastfeeding. Information is also collected on the newborn baby. This information is compared with women who have not taken medicine during pregnancy.
Heart Health for Women
Many people think that heart disease only affects men. This is not true. Any woman can develop heart disease. Educate yourself about how to lower your risk of heart disease.
Women and Diabetes
Diabetes is a serious illness that affects over 20 million people in the United States. There is good news. Diabetes can be controlled by maintaining a healthy diet, exercising, and using FDA-approved medicines, insulin, and devices every day. The FDA has lots of free information to help you manage your diabetes.
View or Download Publications
Order Free Copies
Also in 2011, SAMHSA became a partner and pledge to align its Wellness efforts with the Million Hearts™ initiative. By becoming a major partner, SAMHSA’s Wellness Initiative will continue to address premature death among people with behavioral health problems, with a specific focus on preventing the leading causes of death—heart disease and stroke. Given that individuals with behavioral health challenges represent a sizeable number of Americans who experience cardiovascular disease, this collaboration is an imperative to reach our shared goal to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes over the next 5 years.
In 2012, SAMHSA provided grants from the Wellness Initiative to expand the reach of Million Hearts™ to behavioral health communities. SAMHSA awarded grants to 12 peer-run and recovery community organizations Nationwide to engage in outreach activities for people with mental health and substance use disorders and implement community strategies in support of Million Hearts™’ goal to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes over 5 years.
SAMHSA awarded each organization $25,000 to foster new partnerships and intensify the impact of wellness messages related to prevention and wellness management of cardiovascular disease and other identified early mortality risk factors among consumers and provider populations.
The awarded organizations included:
- NAMI San Diego; San Diego, CA
- Sound Community Services, Inc.; New London, CT
- Another Chance; Atlanta, GA
- Intecovery; Smyrna, GA
- Faith Unlimited Institute; Springfield, MA
- Maine Mental Health Connections; Bangor, ME
- CHOICES; New Brunswick, NJ
- Foundation for Recovery; Las Vegas, NV
- Rockland Independent Living Center; New York, NY
- Northern Ohio Recovery Association; Cleveland, OH
- Recovery Center of Hamilton County; Cincinnati, OH
- The Main Place; Newark, OH
The project period was approximately 4 months, beginning June 1, 2012, and ending on September 30, 2012. Within this short time frame, awardee organizations did an amazing job! We hope their activities inspire ideas within your own communities and organizations with ways to pursue and promote wellness.
- Formed walking groups, which included tallying everyone’s mileage using pedometers;
- Visited and provided outreach to mental health agencies, self-help centers, health fairs, and educational conferences to spread the message that freedom from tobacco is critical, and to provide essential tools for the audiences;
- Conducted group workshops on topics such as health and nutrition;
- Provided information on wellness management and recovery;
- Conducted provider training sessions and presentations to providers and consumers;
- Held healthy community picnics, healthy cooking classes, and weekly smoking cessation classes;
- Sent direct mail to physicians explaining Million Hearts™ goals and ways to get involved;
- Participated in Weight Watchers, where participants lost a combined 100 pounds by the end of the project period;
- Made time and space for arts/creative writing projects, including a Million Hearts™ quilt project;
- Monitored members’ blood pressure and weight;
- Set up electronic health records for tracking biometric information in patient portals; and
- Conducted a social marketing campaign about the issues.
Social media and other outreach
- Many organizations promoted their videos and events through social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. Some developed participant databases to disseminate information through Twitter and Facebook.
- Another used text messaging to promote tobacco cessation and provide heart health information to its audiences.
- CHOICES developed a CHOICES blog emphasizing the steps of My Life Check™, a heart health assessment tool from Million Hearts™.
- The Recovery Center of Hamilton County added a wellness blog to its Web site.
- Other organizations created a newspaper and bus advertisement to increase inquiries about smoking cessation and its visibility in communities.
- Intecovery used funding to designate and equip a space for a “Social Media Lab” that provides Internet access and training to consumers with limited resources. A moderator was also available to teach participants how to use social media and guide them to cardiovascular health sites. Intecovery conducted a pre- and post-survey to measure effectiveness.
- Faith Unlimited Institute provided training to affiliated programs (e.g., Men of Color Health Awareness Project, Inc.) on using social media for reaching out and promoting health.
Film and video
- Rockland Independent Living Center produced a short documentary called “Heart and Soul: Promoting Whole Body Wellness in Behavioral Health.”
- Intecovery created a wellness video to increase awareness of the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke for individuals with mental health disorders.
- Foundation for Recovery recorded and posted several wellness videos to YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.
- Sound Community Services used video to highlight peers in recovery to tell the story of engaging in heart-healthy activities.
- Some organizations developed and implemented a “90-Day Healthy Heart” pledge campaign, encouraging heart-healthy activities among people in recovery who do not have primary care physicians, and who have heart disease associated with obesity, smoking, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
- Other organizations used the pledge approach to encourage participants to lose 1 to 10 pounds during the course of the Million Hearts™ program.
Wellness Resource Center
- Foundation for Recovery established a wellness resource center, which partner organizations are utilizing.
Organizations also held activities during National Wellness Week 2012, including:
- Hosting a Line Dance for Wellness;
- Holding a wellness fair and wellness walks;
- Providing a mobile medical van; and
- Conducting trainings and technical assistance on strategies to adhere to the ABCS (appropriate aspirin therapy for those who need it, blood pressure control, cholesterol management, and smoking cessation).
By all accounts, this project funding led to increased awareness about Million Hearts™ among behavioral health communities. Using “wellness” as a positive, empowering term increased community involvement in reducing the risks of the ABCS. Overall, physical activity among individuals and their community also increased.
In addition, organizations were surprised and delighted to report that individuals in the general community unexpectedly took part in many of the community-based and social marketing activities, paving the way for greater social inclusion.