Currently, Americans who have major mental illnesses die an average of twenty-five years earlier than the general population (NASMHPD, 2006 and other sources). They experience the largest health disparity in the United States. Sixty percent of premature deaths are due to medical conditions such as cardiovascular, pulmonary and infectious diseases, which are frequently caused or worsened by controllable lifestyle factors (physical activity, smoking, access to adequate healthcare and prevention services, diet and nutrition, and substance abuse as well as others). In response to these alarming statistics, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Center for Mental Health Services, which in the past has supported the annual Alternatives Conference to provide a forum for peers from all over the nation to meet and to exchange information and ideas, chose to offer effective proactive strategies through a health and wellness screening service. The screening was conducted on October 20-30, 2009 and was planned, coordinated and managed by peer provider staff from the Institute for Wellness and Recovery Initiatives at Collaborative Support Programs of New Jersey. The event was staffed by peers with nursing and health care backgrounds. [Click here to read the full report] (PDF, 56KB, 6 pages)