A recent study of adults with serious mental illnesses who received care in the public mentalhealth sector revealed that, on average, these consumers die 25 years earlier than the general population (1,2). Although they are subject to the same diseases that affect the general population, including cardio- vascular disease, diabetes, and cancer, the key difference is that these individuals get sick earlier and die far sooner. Poor diet, sedentary lifestyle, smoking, and lack of preventive health care all appear to contribute to this increased risk of early death, as do some of the medications prescribed for mental illnesses.
To improve the quality and duration of life for mental health consumers in New York State, the New York State Office of Mental Health (NYS OMH) implemented a variety of wellness programs in OMH outpatient clinics. In 2009, all adult state-operated outpatient clinics began to regularly monitor three health indicators: body mass index, blood pressure, and smoking status.(3) Measuring and reporting physical health indicator status has resulted in increased monitoring and awareness in OMH's adult psychiatric facilities.
Youth Health Indicators and Wellness Initiative
Shortly after the Health Indicators initiative was launched for adults, NYS OMH mandated that all state-operated children's day treatment programs and outpatient clinics begin similar monitoring of youth health status. All child/adolescent outpatients have physical activity level, body mass percentile, smoking and substance use status measured on admission. Measures are repeated on a quarterly basis for youth who remain in care. The Youth Health Indicators include: low activity (less than 1 hour of activity per day), overweight or obese, smoking and substance use. (For detailed definition see Youth Health Indicators quarterly reports below.)
The Youth Health Indicators program includes 19 clinics and 31 day treatment programs with an estimated 1,951 unique outpatients treated annually. Data are collected electronically using the NYS OMH Mental Health Automated Record System (MHARS II). Quarterly reports are produced and made available on this page on a regular basis.
Currently available Youth Health Indicators quarterly reports are:
October-December 2009 (pdf) January to March 2010 (pdf) January to March 2011 (pdf) April to June 2011 (pdf)
An intervention program targeting overweight/obese status and activity level is being planned.
1. Lutterman, T., Ganju, V., Schacht, L., et al. (2003). Sixteen state study on mental health performance measures. (DHHS Publication No. (SMA) 03-3835). Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services.
2. Parks, J., Svendsen, D., Singer, P., et al. (2006). Morbidity and mortality in people with serious mental illness. (13th Technical Report). Alexandria, VA: National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors. Available at www.nasmhpd.org/publicationsmeddir.cfm
3. Mangurian, C., Miller, G., Jackson, C., Li, H., Essock, S., & Sederer, L. (2010). State mental health policy: Physical health screening in state mental health clinics: The New York Health indicators initiative. Psychiatric Services,61(4), 346-8.
The PDF documents on this page may contain information not accessible by individuals using assistive devices, contact the Kids Portal Administrator at (518) 474-9911 for assistance.