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Brief Treatment and Crisis Intervention Advance Access originally published online on August 8, 2007
Brief Treatment and Crisis Intervention 2007 7(3):161-175; doi:10.1093/brief-treatment/mhm009
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© The Author 2007. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail:

Health Promotion as Brief Treatment: Strategies for Women with Co-morbid Health and Mental Health Conditions

   Vikki Vandiver, MSW, Dr.P.H.

From the School of Social work, Portland State University

Contact author: Vikki Vandiver, Associate Professor, School of Social Work, Portland State University, Portland, Oregon 97207 and Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, Oregon 97239. E-mail address: vandiverv{at}

In the last decade, there has been increased recognition of the link between mental health conditions and physical disorders. This nexus has had particular implications for women diagnosed with a psychiatric illness and receiving public sector mental health services. The purpose of this article is to summarize 4 core health-related concerns that women with psychiatric conditions present to mental health providers. They include psychosocial/personal history, medication-induced weight gain, pregnancy, and substance use. The article then defines and describes health promotion strategies (e.g., Wellness Recovery Action Plan, Fitness Program, Health Education, and Gender-Specific Treatment Groups) and model programs within the context of brief treatment. Finally, the article reviews barriers to implementation of strategies (e.g., fiscal, clinical, and training) and concludes with recommendations for organizational shift to a health promotion philosophy and brief treatment.

KEY WORDS: health promotion, wellness, mental illness, co-morbid, schizophrenia

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