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State Mental Health Policy: Physical Health Screening in State Mental Health Clinics: The New York Health Indicators Initiative

September 2016

Christina Mangurian, MD, Gregory A Miller, MD, Carlos T Jackson, PhD, Hailing Li, Susan M Essock, PhD


The article focuses on a mandate from the New York State Office of Mental Health, to regularly monitor three physical health indicators – blood pressure, smoking status, and body mass index. A recent study finds that adults with serious mental illnesses are dying 25 years younger than the rest of the population. New medical equipment and digital databases were implemented along with training on these changes for faculty. According to the study, approximately 50% of New York’s outpatient mental health patients have been screened.

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Policy Implications

The New York State Office of Mental health encourages mental health facilities to adopt a different attitude than the usual, “we’ll be here when you need us” attitude by mandating the regular monitoring of these physical health indicators. Without the mandate, the likelihood of these outpatient adults being treated and enrolled into wellness programs in regards to BMI, blood pressure, and smoking status would be lessened greatly.

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