Many Tennesseans who struggle with mental illness, substance abuse disorders, and co-occurring disorders are dedicating themselves to getting more active. Their efforts will be celebrated during National Wellness Week (September 15-21) when hundreds of Tennesseans from Memphis to Morristown will come together to focus on physical health as a means to living longer, more productive lives.
"Recent studies show that people with serious mental illness die, on average, at least 25 years earlier than people without," said Sue Karber, Director of Consumer Wellness and Employment Programs for the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. "Our focus is on helping people improve their overall well-being and resiliency to live healthy and purposeful lives."
Karber and her team are leading the effort in Tennessee through the "My Health, My Choice, My Life" initiative, aimed at helping people with mental illness, substance abuse disorders, and co-occurring disorders by increasing healthy behaviors and decreasing symptoms.
Launched by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in 2011, National Wellness Week is aimed at inspiring people to focus on improving their physical health and other dimensions of wellness. National Wellness Week will promote the many ways wellness can improve quality of life and increase life expectancy for people with mental and substance use disorders.
Six events will be held across the state to celebrate National Wellness Week in Morristown, Nashville, Athens, Jackson, Chattanooga, and Memphis. There will be an array of activities to participate in such as kickball, walking, and moving to music.
CLICK HERE to view the complete list of Wellness Week events, locations, and times.
"Our initiative is truly making a difference," said Karber. "We're giving some of our most vulnerable citizens struggling with mental illness and substance use disorders, the tools to explore their talents, skills, and interests."