Improving the Health of People with Mental Illness Around the World

Posted on November 19, 2014 by Ashley Womble

The Hilton Humanitarian Prize carries with it a $1.5 million honorarium that will enable Fountain House to continue as a life-changing catalyst for people living with mental illness here in New York City, in the United States and around the world. 

Dr. Shekar Saxena and Kenn Dudek Dr. Shekar Saxena and Kenn DudekPoor preventive health care is an epidemic among those with serious mental illness. In addition to managing the primary symptoms of their illness, our members are faced with a life expectancy that is 25 years shorter than the general population due to a higher susceptibility to chronic physical disease.

One of the key partnerships we have developed is with the World Health Organization (WHO) and Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. WHO’s Director of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, Dr. Shekhar Saxena, was so impressed by Fountain House’s innovative programming and extraordinary outcomes that he proposed a collaboration between Fountain House and Columbia University to study to early mortality of people living with mental illness. The project will research health data and develop guidelines and best practices that can be adopted globally. Our hope is that the study will inspire a worldwide campaign to lengthen and improve the lives of people with mental illness.

Dr. Saxena attended the day long Hilton Humanitarian Symposium and met with members of Fountain House’s Research Committee to discuss in more detail the research project on early mortality and WHO’s Mental Health Action Plan. 

Learn more about the Hilton Prize by reading Kenn Dudek's acceptance speech at the award ceremony. 

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