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NAMI Hearts and Minds

Individuals living with serious mental illness face an increased risk of having chronic medical conditions. Adults living with serious mental illness die 25 years earlier than other Americans, largely due to treatable medical conditions.

NAMI Hearts & Minds is an educational initiative promoting the idea of wellness in both mind and body. Wellness is an ongoing process of learning how to make choices that support a more successful, healthy life.

Engaging in a wellness effort can make a huge difference in the quality of your life. One study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, showed that taking the wellness approach can result in a 17 percent decline in total medical visits and a 35 percent decline in medical visits for minor illnesses.

Wellness is about the individual; you can decide what parts of your life you would like to change and you can determine your own success.

Originally rolled out by NAMI-NYS in 2011, NAMI Hearts & Minds addresses subjects ranging from medical self-advocacy, smoking and substance abuse, healthy eating, exercise, and mindfulness.

Look for a newfound emphasis on NAMI Hearts & Minds in New York State and find additional information regarding health and wellness below.

Physical activity has been shown to help with being emotionally and mentally fit too. 

A recent study reported in the journal Clinical Psychological Science, concluded that exercise helps people deal with anxiety and stress. There are a couple of theories why this is true. First, exercise effects certain chemicals in the brain such as dopamine and serotonin. Researchers at Duke University studied people suffering from depression for 4 months and found that 60% of the participants who exercised for 30 minutes three times per week overcame their depression. Second, exercise can play a big part in improving body image and increasing social interaction which can improve mental health. 

Remember to start slow and check with your doctor if it has been a while since you exercised. Start building exercise into your daily schedule by parking farther away from the entrance to work or shopping or take the stairs instead of the elevator. Even small changes can give you a sense of achievement and improve your health both physically and mentally.

Courtesy the Rose Hill Center, Holly, MI.

According to a study conducted over a four year period with students at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and the University of Navarra in Spain, a Mediterranean diet can have a positive impact on one's quality of life. Researchers concluded that participants who followed this diet had better physical and mental well-being and significantly better physical quality of life. A traditional Mediterranean diet includes vegetables, fruit, cereals and dairy products. Below are the general guidelines for this heart healthy, mood boosting eating plan:

  • Eat primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts
  • Replace butter with healthy fats such as olive oil and canola oil
  • Use herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods
  • Limiting red meat to no more that a few times a month
  • Eat fish and poultry at least twice a week

Courtesy the Rose Hill Center, Holly, MI.


Our vision for Quit Smoking Community is to provide a hub where visitors can access information about quitting smoking. Here, they can also download resources and tools to help them begin and complete their journey to cigarette cessation. Our website currently receives over 40,000 visitors per day from around the world. Ultimately, we are hoping to bring people of different races and nationalities together in the fight against tobacco.

Vaping 101

Wellness Information and Links

Sovereign Health Of California Expands Its Evidence Based Treatment Services By Adding Neurofeedback To Its Program

Sovereign Health of California, a premier behavioral health treatment center located in San Clemente, California, announced that it has further expanded its evidence-based services by adding a neurofeedback component to its comprehensive treatment program.

Click here to read the entire article

New Research Shows: Neurofeedback Is An 'Evidence-Based' Treatment For ADHD

Neurofeedback - also called EEG Biofeedback - is a method used to train brain activity in order to normalize Brain function and treat psychiatric disorders. This treatment method has gained interest over the last 10 years, however the question whether this treatment should be regarded as an Evidence-Based treatment was unanswered until now.

Click here to read the entire article.

Patricia L. Gerbarg, M.D

Dr. Gerbarg practices Integrative Psychiatry, combining standard and complementary treatments. Her research focuses on mind-body practices for reducing the effects of stress and trauma, particularly in survivors of mass disasters.
Click here to read more about Dr. Gerbarg

Watch NARSAD-Grant Funded Research (Deep Brain Stimulation) Improve Lives

Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) is a newer treatment option for patients with severe depression. Using pulses of current, DBS regulates specific areas of the brain (DBS is often referred to as the 'Pacemaker for the Brain').

Click here to watch the video and read the entire article.

The Strength of My Denial All Those Years

A woman explains why she finally agreed to try deep brain stimulation for her depression

Click here to view the article from The Brain and Behavior Research Foundation.

Brain & Behavior Research Foundation

Click here to read about highlights from the 2012 Mental Health Conference in New York City.

Mental Illness Research News

Click here to learn about the latest in mental health research news.

NIH Study Shows People with Serious Mental Illnesses Can Lose Weight

Losing weight is challenging for everyone. It can be particularly difficult for someone with a serious mental illness. An NIMH-funded clinical study proves that a modified diet and exercise program can work for people with serious mental illnesses. Participants lost 7 pounds more than controls - and continued to lose weight.

Click here to read more.

NIMH grantee and lead author of the study, Dr. Gail Daumit talk about the Project Achieve weight loss trial.

Please contact Annie Romero-Wright with comments, suggestions, and experiences that you would like to share about research and complementary treatment information related to wellness topics at annieromero@optonline.net

Winter Well Planner 2017 -201 8
Swarbrick, M., & Nemec, P. (Dec 2017). Winter Well Planner-2017-2018.

Freehold, NJ: Collaborative Support Programs New Jersey, Inc. Wellness Institute

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