The Wellness Learning Community and
“Your Wellness Counts” projects

Since 2004, the “Bridging the Gap” project has promoted the integration of physical and behavioral health to increase the quality of life of persons in recovery. Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care Technical Assistance Center (UBHC-TAC) actively collaborates with the NJ Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) on a number of Wellness-related initiatives.

The Wellness Learning Community consists of four primary stakeholder groups (behavioral health consumers, consumers’ families, behavioral health service providers, physicians & other primary care service providers) who have joined together to promote the overall wellness of persons in recovery. Goals include enhancing each stakeholder group’s knowledge of Shared Decision Making approaches, the use of Decision Aids, and the development of skills related to self-advocacy.  Through planned discussions and trainings (live and distance learning), the Wellness Learning Community will share evidence-based and best practices to integrate physical and behavioral health for persons in recovery.

Another intitiative to assist with enahncing overall wellness is the development of the "Your Wellness Counts" self monitoring tool.  With national data consitently showing the consumers lose up to 25 years of life compared to the general population, the aim for Your Wellness Counts (YWC) is to enhance the quality and length of life for persons in recovery. This tool is comprised of 7 modules that address modifiable behaviors which impact overall wellness and physical health. Over 100 persons in recovery, family members, and practitioners from state hospitals and the community shared their insights in creating, suggesting, reviewing, and evaluating the content and format of YWC.

YWC was developed via a collaboration between New Jersey Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services (NJ DMHAS) and Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care’s Technical Assistance Center (Rutgers UBHC TAC). A recent statewide wellness survey of behavioral health care providers identified that motivation can be one challenge in reducing the disproportionate amount of physical health conditions encountered by people in recovery, such as metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Thus, YWC was developed with the hope of engaging people who may not be ready to participate in healthier behaviors that would assist with decreasing risk factors for these preventable & treatable physical illnesses.

The tone of the educational materials is conversational, desgined to create a personal and enjoyable experience so that the person feels respected and not “lectured” to. Exploratory questions are woven into the discussion so that the reader is prompted to think about what s/he values and how healthy behaviors may best fit with one’s goals and current lifestyle. YWCs offers the combination of evidence-based and best practices for promoting health behaviors with other additional resources and social support to emphasize concrete ways to initiate and maintain any desired behavior changes.

We have placed links to each of the seven modules below.  These are intended for personal or New Jersey statewide programmatic use.  For any other, please ensure that you use proper citations.

Your Wellness Counts Cover Acknowledgements and Index
Your Wellness Counts - Wellness Your Way
Your Wellness Counts - Shared Decision Making
Your Wellness Counts - Eating Better
Your Wellness Counts - Moving More
Your Wellness Counts - Deciding About Smoking
Your Wellness Counts - Wellness Every Day

If you have any questions about Your Wellness Counts, please feel free to contact us at (732) 235-9290 or at tac_training@ubhc.rutgers.edu. Please include “Complete Wellness Project” in the subject line of your email.

We gratefully acknowledge the sponsorship and support of the New Jersey Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services for this project.

Last modified: