First mental and physical health festival to take place in Manchester

THINKphysical: Manchester Mental Health Festival aims to raise awareness of the importance of improving the physical health of people with severe and enduring mental illness (SMI). Taking place between 14 and 19 June 2015, the festival will bring together academic, healthcare and charity organisations alongside service users, carers and the general public in a week-long series of community events.

Compared to the general population, people with SMI have much poorer physical health, a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, and significantly reduced life expectancy. This unacceptable health inequality is due to a number of factors, including reduced access to healthcare, the effects of some anti-psychotic medications and individual lifestyle choices, including potentially higher smoking rates, poorer diets and lower physical activity levels.

Many of the physical health difficulties that people with SMI face are either preventable or controllable, and people want support to do this. We know less about the ways in which people with SMI experience or cope with changes in their physical health, or the types of help or services that they would most like to receive. Our mental health programme of work aims to work with all key stakeholders, including service users, carers, commissioners, healthcare professionals and researchers, to better understand these issues and to identify and evaluate possible solutions to improve the physical health of people with SMI.

THINKphysical: Manchester Mental Health Festival will deliver a variety of events including ‘Side Affect’ (a theatre production informed by service users), public lectures and even a flash mob dance! Throughout the week, service users and carers will have the opportunity to receive patient-mediated materials on the side effects of antipsychotic medication, sign up to a register of people interested in taking part in research or contribute to the development of a new questionnaire designed to measure service users’ satisfaction with physical health care.

View the programme and secure your tickets on Eventbrite: http://thinkphysical.eventbrite.com.

Five THINKphysical events are non-ticketed and only appear on the CLAHRC Greater Manchester website: http://clahrc-gm.nihr.ac.uk/thinkphysical/whats-on/.

Get social and join the conversation on Twitter: #THINKphysical.