Springing into Wellness and Planting the Financial Wellness Seed
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For many people, spring means a time for renewed growth and balance in many areas of life. The Wellness Initiative is excited to help you, your loved ones, and your communities spring into wellness.
Individuals with mental and substance use disorders are dying decades earlier than are the general population. This group also suffers disproportionately from preventable conditions due to disparities and fragmentation in the primary health care and behavioral health care service delivery systems.
To promote recovery and social inclusion, SAMHSA’s Wellness Initiative promotes embracing the Eight Dimensions of Wellness to achieve a holistic overall well-being. These dimensions include the social, emotional, physical, occupational, intellectual, spiritual, environmental, and financial aspects of a person’s life. Since each of these aspects of wellness can affect overall quality of life, it is important to consider all aspects of health. This is especially important for people with mental and substance use disorders because wellness directly relates to improved quality and longevity of life. Wellness is not the absence of disease, illness, and stress, but the presence of purpose in life, active involvement in satisfying work and play, joyful relationships, a healthy body and living environment, and happiness.
This year, the Wellness Initiative is focusing on the financial dimension of wellness. Approximately 60 to 80 percent of people with mental illness are unemployed. For individuals with severe mental illness, this number can rise to approximately 90 percent. Along with the advantages that come with having an income, employment can also provide an enormous positive impact on an individual’s recovery, through social and emotional benefits.
However, financial wellness is not just about employment. It is also an intricate balance of the mental, physical, and spiritual aspects of managing, investing, and conserving one’s financial resources and interests.
Barriers to financial wellness and employment are challenging for anyone, but can prove especially difficult for people with mental and substance use disorders.
Such barriers can include:
- Chronic unemployment and expectation of failure;
- Stigma and discrimination and social exclusion in the workplace;
- Lack of motivation, hope, support, and empowerment;
- Lack of necessary work skills;
- Expensive habits such as smoking, and lack of support to create healthier habits; and
- Lack of knowledge of personal finance basics.
There is a need to create environments and public policies that enhance overall wellness and financial wellness for peers and persons in recovery. This Webinar will give participants the opportunity to hear from some leaders of wellness and financial wellness programs for people with mental and substance use disorders. Presenters include Ms. Ammie Bonsu, Ms. Katherine Heart, Ms. Nora Candey, and Ms. Cardum Harmon.
This Webinar will provide an overview of:
- SAMHSA’s Wellness Initiative and the Eight Dimensions of Wellness;
- The magnitude of unemployment and lack of financial wellness among people with mental and substance use disorders;
- The effectiveness of a variety of whole-person wellness and financial wellness programs in both peer-run and provider organizations; and
- The personal story of a peer with experience in improving her financial wellness, and thus, her overall wellness.
- Peers and persons in recovery, current and past recipients of mental health and substance abuse services, family members, and mental health and substance abuse organizations;
- Peer-run and provider organizations;
- Community- and faith-based organizations that support people who have mental and substance use disorders;
- Staff of State and county mental health departments;
- Behavioral health providers;
- Primary care providers; and
- Anyone interested in helping promote wellness, improve the quality of life, and increase life expectancy for people with mental and substance use disorders.
Ammie Bonsu, M.P.H.,
Public Health Analyst, Office of Consumer Affairs Center for Mental Health Services,
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
Katherine F.H. Heart, M.Ed., is president of Heart Resources, LLC, and a SAMHSA Voice Awards Fellow. Heart survived child sexual abuse to become an award-winning scholarship athlete at the University of Pittsburgh, where she earned degrees in health and physical education. She managed nonprofit fitness, health, and victim service programs until an event triggered severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in 1992. Heart had 27 inpatient hospital stays over the next 15 years, began smoking, gained more than 100 pounds, and developed diabetes and high blood pressure. Through treatment and working with her health care team, she found a new path to wellness, eventually joining SAMHSA's Wellness Initiative efforts. Today, she is smoke-free; has achieved a healthy weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol level; and no longer requires medications for diabetes or PTSD.
A passionate advocate and educator for trauma-informed care and wellness recovery programs, Heart started a social enterprise company, Heart Resources, LLC, to spread wellness. She has assisted nonprofits in applying for grants and partnered with nonprofit agencies to design a peer-advised fitness program that was awarded a Healthy People 2020 Community Innovations Grant.
Nora Candey is project coordinator of Peerlink National Technical Assistance Center, a peer-run organization. Candey began working as a peer advocate in 2002 at the Renaissance drop-in center. Since then, she has worked as a peer provider in various capacities, including implementing peer-delivered services within community mental health; providing employment services; and, most recently, serving as program manager of Luke-Dorf's Self-Directed Services program, where she managed a team of peer providers and used person-directed planning to assist customers with setting and reaching life goals. Candey studied literature at U. C. San Diego and Portland State University, and addictions studies at Portland Community College. In her current role as project coordinator at Peerlink, Nora continues to advocate for inclusion of peers and system change.
Cardum Harmon serves as the campaign manager for Alameda County's 10x10 Campaign, a wellness movement that takes a holistic approach to increasing longevity for persons with mental and substance use disorders by 10 years in 10 years. In her role as campaign manager, Harmon supports Alameda County in promoting services, activities, and policies incorporating the Eight Dimensions of Wellness. As a person with lived experience, as an artist, and as a mother of an energetic 6-year-old, Harmon strongly believes in supporting the whole person and promoting choices and options for recovery.
This Web site was developed under contract with the Office of Consumer Affairs in SAMHSA’s Center for Mental Health Services. The views, opinions, and content provided
on this Web site do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or policies of SAMHSA or HHS. The resources listed in this Web site are not all-inclusive and inclusion on this Web site
does not constitute an endorsement by SAMHSA or HHS.