Living Well

“The part cannot be well unless the whole is well.”    (Plato)


Winterizing Your Mood Ahead of the Holidays

We have found this great tool produced by Dr. Peggy Swarbrick (really cool lady from New Jersey who has done all kinds of neat stuff that helps people realize better lives) and her friends.  It is titled Winter Wellness Planner and can be downloaded for free from the following link: 
This 10 page booklet, with personal writing space inside, has value to almost anyone reading this.  The holidays are well intended, but they have their down sides for most of us.   So this booklet can be useful in our families, but it  this would be a great tool for Peer Specialists to use with their clients to help them prepare for the holidays, which can be really tough for several reasons that we can all think of–seasonal affective issues, social isolation, memories and trauma, etc.   So let’s help people be prepared for the holidays this year!

New Data about Smoking and Persons with Mental Illness Revealing

“About 60% of state mental hospitals now prohibit smoking. But only one-third of them offer treatment to help patients quit. And few people living on their own with mental-health problems have access to smoking-cessation programs.”

The quote above comes from an article in the New York Times (link below).  North Carolina is one of the states that has banned smoking in our state hospitals.  However, it did so with no preparation at the community level–no emphasis on smoking cessation programs, no public awareness campaign.  It was simply determined by state officials and a very small majority of persons on the NC Commission for Mental Health (in 2008, I think?) that persons with mental illness could not or did not deserve to have a voice in the matter of how to improve their health.  The state thought it knew better.  Yet where are the programs to help people remain smoke-less after hospitalization?

The article is interesting, and challenges some popular assumptions.   It also causes us to consider the important need for smoking cessation programs and therapies to be offered through community mental health centers.


Exercises for Every  Mood                                                                                                 

Article from  AOL.Health.  Submitted by Marianne Clayter

When you exercise, your brain releases a slew of feel-good chemicals that help you feel motivated, calm and inspired for life. So if you’re feeling stressed, tired or pissed off try our expert fitness moves that can put a smile back on your face. Pronto.Try these specific activities the next time you feel anxious or down-in-the-dumps!

Read article here.


It’s about time!  There is nation-wide acknowledgement that well-being has many components.  That is, there is more to health and mental health than just taking pills!  This means that our society has a lot of work to do, and it also means that we as individuals have an important role in  improving health and well-being in our communities.  We can advocate and we can innovate.  But beyond that, we each have a responsibility to ourselves for our well-being by striving to make progress in any area we can.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, SAMHSA, has recently begun an agenda toward integrating health care in its many aspects  (See The 10 x 10 Wellness Campaign here.)


The list below is offered through SAMHSA’s site.  

The new year has begun.  Consider one component of health that you would consider improving, and keep watching this site for tips and tools!  Got something to share, send it to us, and we can post it.

There are many partners in our state who can help us learn current, realistic steps toward improving the quality of our lives.  NC CANSO will be reaching out to them. 

Social – developing a sense of connection and a well-developed support system;

Physical – recognizing the need for physical activity, diet, sleep, and nutrition while discouraging the use of tobacco, drugs, and excessive alcohol consumption;

Emotional – developing skills and strategies to cope effectively with stress, challenges, and conflict;

Spiritual – searching for meaning and purpose in human existence;

Occupational – deriving personal satisfaction and enrichment from one’s work;

Intellectual – recognizing creative abilities and finding ways to expand knowledge and skills;                                                                                                                               Environmental – fostering good health by occupying pleasant, stimulating environments that support well-being;

Financial – feeling satisfied with current and foreseeable future financial situation.


Integrative, Integrated, or Both?

I.  What is Integrative Medicine?

As defined by the Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine, “integrative medicine is a system of comprehensive care that emphasizes wellness and healing of the whole person, with special emphasis on patient participation, and attention to mental and spiritual health.  The knowledge and use of complementary and alternative medicine is an important aspect of integrative medicine.”  In other words, our choices in what we eat, whether and which vitamins might improve our moods and energy levels, the impact of sunlight and exercise on our health–all of these are aspects of health for which each of us can be responsible.  There are several researched approaches that we can learn about and do that will help us live better lives!  Furthermore, these approaches can make other more clinical approaches have better results for us.  So get familiar with the term “integrative” as meaning ‘holistic’.

II.  What is Integrated Health Care?

The term “Integrated Health Care” means more specifically taking an approach that blends primary health care and mental health care and can include blending substance abuse care with mental health care or other aspects of health care.                                                                                                                                             There are some projects piloted across the state that establish mental health care in primary care sites and other initiatives.  To learn more, you can go to  The site looks like it may be intended especially for clinical folks, but you get the point.  Surely the ICARE Project would be interested in more consumer input.

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Learning Materials Highlight Nutrition, Obesity and Physical Activity

The 10×10 Wellness Campaign would like to share the following message from the CDC, regarding its first Learning Connection Spotlight: Nutrition, Obesity and Physical Activity:                                                                                                          

 CDC – We are pleased to present the first CDC Learning Connection Spotlight: Nutrition, Obesity, and Physical Activityat This Spotlight will provide you with learning products and resources to help you lead public health efforts that prevent and control obesity through policy development, environmental strategies, regular physical activity, and nutrition.

Throughout 2011, the CDC Learning Connection Spotlight will offer learning products and resources on different topics for the public health community. Selected topics are based on CDC Vital Signs and Winnable Battles.

Send a CDC Learning Connection Health-e-Card.     Through the CDC Learning Connection, you can:

  • Access over 200 products in this growing collection of public health-related learning
  • Find e-learning, podcasts, electronic publications, webcasts, and more
  • Locate courses that offer continuing education (CE) credits
  • Access featured e-learning that meet specific selection criteria

If you have any questions or comments, please contact