What efforts are being used to improve physical health in American Indian patients with SMI?

There is no specific data available about American Indian patients with SMI. But there are data that there are higher rates of cardiovascular conditions, which is important to consider given that SMI and many medications can further increase that risk. Thus, efforts to improve physical health in American Indians with SMI is of great importance.

The Health and Recovery Peer (HARP) program offers one of several solutions and is a series of six groups led by individuals who have chronic health conditions. Whole Health Action Management (WHAM) is another option and an education intervention developed by SAMHSA. Nutrition and Exercise for Wellness and Recovery (NEW-R) is an 8 week weight loss structured curriculum for individuals with SMI addressing nutrition and exercise. Smoking cessation options include nicotine replacement, medication assisted treatment options (e.g., varenicline or bupropion), motivational interviewing, etc. Integrated health care services and robust screening programs offer a systems approach to these challenges. The Indian Health Services is utilizing the Behavioral Health Integration Initiative (BH2I) to bring many of these tools together into one effort.

For more details, please see the full 2019 webinar Improving Clinical Skills Webinar Series: Serious Mental Illness and Physical Comorbidity: Early Identification and Effective Interventions by Indian Health Services (IHS) TeleBehavioral Health Center of Excellence (TBHCE) (free).

Access more webinars from the IHS TBHCE at https://www.ihs.gov/teleeducation/.

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