Poor Physical Health Outcomes in the Mentally Ill, and How to Help
Moving to the West Seventh neighborhood of Saint Paul last spring, my husband and I were thrilled to see a community of people who care- about each other, about their health, about their tiny libraries, and about the festival of the day. We saw artist’s lofts, thriving local businesses, friendships between diverse peoples, and green spaces everywhere- from community centers to parks to gardens. We saw Day by Day Café and Fresh Grounds Coffee, which not only serve delicious food and coffee, but also offer gainful employment to people recovering from addiction.
Congratulations! You have survived yet another long Minnesota winter. Why not celebrate the beautiful weather and take the opportunity to explore outside?
Obesity rates across the country continue to rise, and the Minnesota Department of Health estimates that 1 in 4 Minnesotans are now considered obese. A major contributor is a general lack of physical activity. For many people, cold winter weather keeps them indoors, limiting their exercise options. But with summer weather approaching, now is the time to take advantage and get a jumpstart on your health by returning to healthy, active habits.
Immigrants are considered a vulnerable population in healthcare. There is a disparity in the proper use of healthcare resources for this group. Many factors contribute to this disparity: low health literacy, limited English proficiency, socioeconomic status, and immigration status to name a few. How do we bridge the gap? We start with the same way we address this for all Americans — health education.
The opioid crisis in America has had devastating effects on people across the country. You likely know someone who is struggling with addiction to prescription opioid pain medication or heroin, whether it is a family member, friend, neighbor, coworker, or yourself. In 2012, the National Institute on Drug Abuse estimated that 2.1 million Americans suffer from substance use disorders related to prescription opioids, and 467,000 are addicted to heroin. These numbers are rising. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 33,000 people died from an opioid overdose in 2015, more than any year on record.
When is the last time you did something you truly enjoy? When is that last time you felt focused and grounded rather than going through the motions of your day? When is the last time you did something that made you feel like yourself? Most people when asked such questions will pause and say they have lost themselves in work, family, or other stressors that come with the daily grind of life. They speak of having no time for themselves but can rattle off numerous tasks and supportive activities they are doing for others. This year, I would like to challenge you not only to take time for yourself, but to reconnect and get acquainted with the person you may have lost over the past year.