The Bridging the Gap“Your Wellness Counts” project

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. Through this project, the 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.

One of our primary initiatives involves the "Your Wellness Counts" self monitoring tool.  With national data consistently showing that consumers lose up to 25 years of life compared to the general population, the aim of "Your Wellness Counts" (YWC) is to enhance the quality and length of life for people 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, both from New Jersey state hospitals and the community, shared their insights in creating, 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 (DMHAS) and Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care’s Technical Assistance Center.  A recent statewide wellness survey of behavioral health care providers highlighted the challenge of enhancing motivation to reduce the disproportionate amount of physical health conditions encountered by people in recovery, including metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Thus, YWC was developed with the goal of engaging people who may not be ready to engage in healthier behaviors so that together we can decrease risk factors for these preventable and treatable physical conditions.

The tone of the educational materials is conversational, designed 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 their goals and current lifestyle. YWCs offers the combination of evidence-based and best practices for promoting health behaviors with other additional resources and social supports 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 “Your Wellness Counts” in the subject line of your e-mail.

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

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