Newsroom > DHHS News Release

September 10, 2013

Marla Augustine, Communications & Legislative Services, 402-471-4047, 

National Wellness Week is September 16-22
“Behavioral health is essential to health”*
Lincoln— People with mental health and substance use conditions die on average 25 years earlier than the general population, mostly due to conditions such as diabetes or cardiovascular, respiratory, or infectious diseases, according to the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
While addressing factors like smoking, inactivity and obesity will extend longevity, wellness is more than just physical, said Scot L. Adams, director of the Division of Behavioral Health at the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.
“Wellness means overall well-being. It’s how someone functions in life, the quality of his or her relationships, and the ability to adapt or be resilient,” he said.
“People with a behavioral health condition can take steps toward total wellness through the eight dimensions of health: physical, emotional, financial, social, occupational, intellectual, environmental, and spiritual,” said Carol Coussons de Reyes, administrator of the Office of Consumer Affairs.
People with mental and substance use disorders can explore their talents, skills, interests, social connections, and environment to incorporate the dimensions of wellness, she said.  “The eight dimensions help people recover and build resilience, especially when confronted with traumatic, mental health, or substance use challenges.
“Each aspect of wellness can affect overall quality of life, so it is important to consider all aspects of health. This is especially important for people with mental health problems, because wellness directly relates to quality and longevity,” she said.
The eight dimensions of health:
Physical: Activities promoting healthy behaviors, including smoking cessation, physical activity, nutrition, adequate sleep, and safe medication use.
Emotional: Activities encouraging individuals to find mentally stimulating pursuits, such as writing poetry or creating artwork.
Financial and Occupational: Activities to learn how to manage one's finances and encouraging individuals to explore work opportunities that will provide satisfaction in their lives.
Social: Activities encouraging individuals to volunteer, join a book club, or simply spend more time with family and friends.
Intellectual: Activities that encourage individuals to pursue interests in history, current events, reading books, or a hobby.
Environmental:  Activities promoting ways individuals can improve healthy environmental surroundings to support their physical and mental health.
Spiritual: Activities encouraging incorporating pursuits such as meditation, prayer, or music into one's efforts to enhance recovery.
“Wellness is a continuous journey for all of us,” Adams said.  “The ultimate goal is to experience a full and satisfying life.”
*Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration