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5 APA/SMI Adviser Courses to Help you Support Patient Well-Being in the New Year

  • January 04, 2022
  • Serious mental illness, What APA is Doing For You

The start of the new year is a time many people look to begin or to renew efforts to improve well-being: in fact, one in four Americans is making a mental health New Year’s resolution this year. Several American Psychiatric Association (APA) courses, offered through SMI Adviser, cover ways to promote well-being among patients, whether though exercise, connecting with others, or positivity.

Exercise & Serious Mental Illness

Between 40% to 60% of individuals with serious mental illness (including major depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia) are obese, compared to about 30% of the general population. Obesity has many detrimental health consequences, including increased cardiovascular morbidity and reduced life expectancy. Fortunately, the harmful effects of obesity are reversible with even modest weight loss. Recent evidence also suggests physical activity can help improve often challenging cognitive deficits associated with these disorders. Therefore, it is important to help patients stay active and fit.

  • Aerobic Exercise and Neurocognition in Serious Mental Illness: Efficacy and Clinical Applications via Novel Technologies – This presentation discusses how novel digital technologies can be used to improve physical activity in individuals with SMI including considerations for dosage, intensity, and safety issues. It specifically looks at the use of active-play video games as part of aerobic exercise interventions to enhance neurocognition in individuals with schizophrenia.
  • Stepping Forward: Using Mobile and Wearable Technology to Increase Physical Activity – The recent rise of fitness trackers and health apps offers potential new tools and resources to increase physical activity. This presentation explores the latest evidence about what digital technology can and cannot yet do towards helping patients become more active. It addresses what to expect in terms of patient engagement and response, how to safely monitor physical activity, and how to incorporate such into treatment plans. The presentation also reviews the steps from the APA app evaluation model for making a more informed decision about whether to use a certain exercise app, fitness tracker, or smartwatch with a patient who wants to become more physically active.
  • WHAM: A Peer-Delivered Wellness Self-Management ProgramWhole Health Action Management (WHAM) is s an approach to improving the physical health of people with mental health and substance use disorders. It is especially useful for people with chronic health conditions such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Developed by people in recovery from behavioral health conditions, WHAM helps participants identify and pursue goals using weekly action plans, personal logs, one-on-one meetings with a peer health educator, and weekly support group sessions. Designed to complement traditional behavioral health treatment, WHAM content can be delivered by trained and certified peer specialists. This presentation will show you how to use WHAM in your program or organization.

Social Connection & Positivity

  • The Role of Peer Support in Ending Social Exclusion and Loneliness – This presentation explores the benefits of peer support in combating loneliness and social exclusion. Research has shown that the lack of "connectedness" to friends and community worsens psychiatric problems and leads to chronic illness and early mortality. People living with thought disorders, like schizophrenia, often have difficulties in forming personal relationships. Social inclusion offers opportunities to re-engage with the community and form positive relationships. Mental Health America’s Social Self-Directed Care program and work compiled by the Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion emphasize the value of peer support in assisting individuals with serious psychiatric disorders form social connections and personal relationships.
  • Positive Living: A Positive Psychology Approach to Recovery-oriented Care for People with SchizophreniaPositive Living is a manualized intervention aimed at increasing the experiences of positive emotions for people with schizophrenia. This presentation provides an overview of the intervention and how it has been adapted from positive psychotherapy. It also describes examples of the activities included in Positive Living, discusses the logistics of delivering it, and describes a virtual adaptation of the Positive Living intervention aimed at improving the well-being of family members in an early psychosis program.

The courses are available through SMI Adviser, an initiative funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and administered by the APA. SMI Adviser’s mission is to advance the use of a person-centered approach to care that ensures people who have serious mental illness find the treatment and support they need.

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

The APA designates each course for a maximum of 1.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

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