Stephen Bartels, MD, is overseeing a program aimed at improving health and reducing early mortality in people with mental disorders. (photo courtesy TDI)
Americans with a serious mental illness have a life expectancy 15 to 30 years less than the rest of the population. But a program called In SHAPE that is currently being studied and refined at Dartmouth Medical School by Stephen Bartels, MD, MS, director of the Dartmouth Centers for Health and Aging, now offers hope for healthier, longer lives.
“This is the biggest health disparity in the U.S., and very few people know about it,” says Bartels. The problem, he explains, “is that mental health is completely separated from regular health care. People [with serious mental illnesses] often don’t get good primary care.”
In SHAPE pairs participants with a personal health mentor, someone who is trained in fitness and nutrition, as well as in skills “to motivate people with mental-health challenges,” Bartels says.
Read the full story at Dartmouth Medicine magazine.