Magazine article Behavioral Healthcare Executive

The 10 by 10 Goal

Magazine article Behavioral Healthcare Executive

The 10 by 10 Goal

Article excerpt

Early in the spring of 2006, Craig Colton and I reported findings on premature mortality of public mental healthcare consumers. Our findings were both startling and disturbing: Public mental healthcare consumers die 25 years younger than other Americans. Male consumers are likely to die by age 52; female consumers by age 58. These numbers are comparable to life expectancies in the United States more than 100 years ago, before the era of modern medicine!

Our findings have fostered concern and mobilization across the mental healthcare field. The National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD) issued a landmark policy paper on actions that state mental health agencies can take to address this crisis. Central to these efforts are basic screening and treatment for high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, as 60 to 80% of the disparity in life expectancy is due to chronic health conditions.

SAMHSA's Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) also is addressing this crisis. On September 17 and 18, CMHS's Consumer Affairs Program hosted a Wellness Summit specifically focused on this problem. The heart of the summit was the enunciation of a national call to action: to reduce the life expectancy disparity by 10 years within the next 10 years ("10 by 10"). Participants also made a voluntary pledge to personally foster consumer wellness.

Consumer, family, advocate, provider, researcher, national organization, and federal government participants enthusiastically embraced this vision for change, as well as the 10 by 10 national goal and the pledge. SAMHSA Administrator Dr. Terry Cline sees the disparity in life expectancy as a critical challenge demanding a public health response. CMHS Director Kathryn Power frames it as a major focus of national system transformation efforts.

During the summit participants reported on a diverse range of impressive efforts under way to improve consumers' health. Particularly noteworthy are the efforts of the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare to implement healthy lifestyle initiatives in local community mental health centers, as well as the direct efforts of consumer self-help and peersupport programs across the nation. The summit pointed to the need for a clearinghouse to share information on health promotion interventions achieving successful results. I counted no fewer than 20 such interventions and programs during the summit. Information on these programs needs to be shared broadly.

A strong spirit of collaboration and partnership permeated the summit. …

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