To promote physical and mental health awareness, Boston University Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation, Boston University School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry,and BayRidge Hospital, Lynn, joined together to sponsor an educational series entitled "The Challenge of Promoting Health in Persons with Serious Mental Illnesses." The program highlighted the nature of some of the most common medical risks such as obesity, cardiovascular disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, pulmonary disorders, and diabetes. The program discussed reasons for the increased risk and promoted strategies, services, and innovative approaches. This series took place March 28-31, 2007 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Cambridge.
Persons with serious mental illnesses are also at risk for equally challenging medical conditions, a commonly overlooked health problem. It is estimated that life expectancy is reduced more than 6 years for persons with depression and by more than 7 years for persons with schizophrenia, with some studies suggesting that the life span could even be shortened by 25 years.
Presenters included faculty from the Boston University Sargent College of Allied Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Boston University Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation, Boston University School of Public Health, Assumption College, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, Mass General Hospital, the University of Kansas, community health and mental health providers, service users and other clinicians.
Attendees included psychiatrists, nurses, social workers, a range of rehabilitation practitioners, administrators, mental health consumers, families and others.