THINKphysical flashmobbers dancing on the streets of Manchester.

THINKphysical

Project: THINKphysical: Manchester mental health festival

Please note that this project finished in July 2015 and is no longer active.

What did we do?

We organised Manchester’s first ever festival to focus on improving the physical health of people with severe and enduring mental illness (SMI).

Why was it important?

Compared to the general population, people with SMI have much poorer physical health, a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, and a significantly reduced life expectancy. We organised THINKphysical to put these issues in the spotlight.

How did we do it?

Between 14 and 19 June 2015, we organised a whole host of events. From art classes, public lectures and cookery sessions, to a rounders tournament and even a specially-commissioned theatre production, THINKphysical had something to appeal to everyone.

Central to the Festival design was a service user and carer group. The group was critical in the creation of three tangible outputs related to the side effects of antipsychotic medication: an overview leaflet, a more detailed leaflet to accompany it and a specially commissioned theatre production called Side Affect.

During all events people were asked to sign-up to register their willingness to be contacted for future research – an invaluable tool for work going forward. In addition to the register, a team of researchers talked to service users, carers and mental health professionals about their experiences of physical healthcare planning in mental health services and how they thought that things could be improved. Using focus groups and interviews, the team is exploring physical healthcare planning in detail, and will use people’s feedback to develop a new outcome measure. Once developed, this measure will assess the quality of care delivered to service users from their own perspective.

Who did we work with?

We brought together service users, carers and the general public alongside academic, healthcare and charity bodies in a week-long series of events supported by a number of national and regional organisations.

Video resources

View the THINKphysical flash mob.
View Side Affect, a play about what it’s like to live on antipsychotics.

More information

For more information please contact Michael Spence, Programme Manager, Prof Karina Lovell, academic lead, or view the detailed case study.