Co-occurring Health Considerations

Towards a Healthy, Happy Life

We know persons with mental illness die, on average, 25-30 years earlier than the general population. Early death often occurs from preventable causes related to treatable, chronic conditions such high cholesterol and blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and smoking. Unfortunately, health care, when accessed at all, tends to fall far short of standards of care for those without a mental illness or substance use disorders.

With collaborative education and support, practitioners can engage clients to make progress towards improved emotional and physical well being. MNCAMH Director Piper Meyer-Kalos, Ph.D. likes to call this skill “Keeping it on the table.” Wellness and recovery for clients with CODs means their physical health can be negatively impacted by symptoms of their mental health or substance use disorder or both. The reverse is also true. Physical health concerns can exacerbate mental health and substance use symptoms.