Using Wellness Elements to Enhance Traditional Treatment

March 5, 2017
Saundra Jain

SAN FRANCISCO—Adding wellness interventions to traditional mental health treatment strategies can improve patients’ well-being in a variety of ways, attendees learned at Elevate by Psych Congress 2017.

Psych Congress Steering Committee member Saundra Jain, MA, PsyD, LPC, presented data at Elevate illustrating how deeply mental health conditions can impact happiness, enthusiasm, resilience, and optimism.

“Mental health comes with a price tag for all of these elements,” said Dr. Jain, Adjunct Clinical Affiliate, University of Texas at Austin, School of Nursing, and a private practitioner.

Dr. Jain has developed the WILD (Wellness Interventions for Life’s Demands) 5 Wellness Program, which incorporates exercise, mindfulness, sleep, social connectedness, and nutrition.

Making changes in those areas, even small changes, can improve symptoms as well as protect against relapse and lower the risk of developing mental health disorders, she said.

Wellness Program Boosts Mental Health, Lessens Chronic Pain

For example, a study published in 2015 on people with depression found that those with the lowest levels of depression were the ones who exercised most—at least 4 hours per week. Sedentary people had the most severe depression.

“We know that these interventions, even in short bursts, make a difference,” Dr. Jain said.

Another study published in 2015 showed a 63-to-70% reduction in healthcare professionals’ depression scores after they underwent an 8-week program combining mindfulness meditation, nutrition, and exercise. In addition, a study published in 2013 showed that being highly or moderately adherent to a Mediterranean diet reduced the risk of depression by nearly 70%.

“We are what we eat,” Dr. Jain said. “It matters.”

—Terri Airov

References

“Got Wellness? Incorporating Mental Wellness Strategies into Your Clinical Practice Matters.” Presented at Elevate by Psych Congress 2017; March 5, 2017; San Francisco, CA.