Physical health and severe mental illness project presented at two specialist events

Improving physical health - to support mental and physical wellbeingLiz King, Anya Telford and Mike Spence have presented the joint GM CLAHRC and Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust’s (MMHSCT) project at both The Royal College of Psychiatrists ‘No Health Without Mental Health’ conference and the MMHSCT physical health effectiveness day. The project was very well received with both audiences keen to understand the practicalities of the project, specifically the use of Physical Health Link Workers.

Key national strategy documents such as ‘No Health Without Mental Health’ state the importance of improving the physical health of people with mental health problems. We know that people with a severe and enduring mental illness are more likely to smoke, have a poor diet and be less physically active than the wider population, whilst medication for mental health problems can lead to weight gain and diabetes.

Dr Afshan Khawaja (Consultant Psychiatrist) said “I attended this session [at The Royal College of Psychiatrists conference] and thought it was really interesting to see how one particular Trust/area was trying to develop practice and links around the physical health issues between primary and secondary care. It was great to see the audience were also thinking about how they could use the example and the learning from the GM CLAHRC project in their own area or Trust. It was clear they were thinking about how to adapt and fund such projects.

The key message I went away with was about how important the relationships had been; the link between the Physical Health Link Workers and the GPs, their practices, the Community Mental Health Teams and individual care co-ordinators had been strengthened and personalised. This personal link seemed to be at the heart of the improved joint working and positive outcomes for patients.”

Find more information about severe mental illness and physical health and see how this is continuing to have a positive impact on patients. The presentation delivered at MMHSCT’s physical health effectiveness day is available to download. If you would like any further information, please contact Michael Spence.