By Lois Maharg
Integrated healthcare is praised by health professionals but not widely practiced. So NAMI Michigan has chosen it as the theme of its 2018 Annual State Conference.
Integrated care involves the systematic coordination of mental health, substance abuse, and primary care services, and collaboration among health professionals. Gubernatorial candidates and officials from the state Department of Health and Human Services will be on hand to discuss how to achieve integrated care in Michigan.
Why should integrated care be the headliner at a conference on mental health? World Health Organization statistics show that people with severe mental illness and substance abuse disorders typically die 10 to 25 years earlier than people without these disorders. Often the cause of death is untreated but preventable chronic physical illnesses such as hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
This may occur because some people with mental health conditions lack access to good primary care (with its focus on behavioral changes that improve overall health). It may also have to do with the challenges involved in navigating the currently complex healthcare system.
Increased access to integrated care could help people with mental health conditions live longer, healthier lives.
In addition to its focus on integrated care, the conference will feature presentations and workshops on other aspects of mental illness, including treatments. Attendees will also be able to enjoy recreational activities such as golf, tennis, hiking and biking.
Register soon. The cost of registration will increase by $50 after April 1.