Newsroom > DHHS News Release

December 30, 2009

Jeanne Atkinson, Communications and Legislative Services, (402) 471-8287

Wellness Plans are Important to People with a Mental Illness

Note: Sound bites on this topic are available at:

Lincoln – Ringing in the New Year with a resolution to take charge of an active wellness plan is especially important for people in recovery with a mental illness.

“Research shows that people with mental illnesses die 25 years earlier than the general population,” said Carol Coussons de Reyes, administrator of the Office of Consumer Affairs in the Department of Health and Human Services. “It’s important for each one of us in recovery to make good choices that impact our overall wellness.”

Approximately 71,000 adults in Nebraska have a serious mental illness, an often misunderstood but common health condition that causes changes in a person’s thinking, mood and behavior.

“Don't let that holiday triple fudge cake take charge of your life and create weight gains or other negative impacts on your health,” she said. “Think about what you can do to increase your physical activity. Did you know there are exercises that can be done sitting down at your chair? Have you been tested for diabetes? Can you increase the amount of fruits and vegetables you eat? When did you get your last physical? Do you talk to your doctor about any weight gain you experience on a medication and let him know how you feel about this side effect?”

Consumers, families, and advocates can go for information and resources regarding behavioral health.Information about nutrition, exercise and other wellness topics can be found at