Research shows that people with mental health conditions or learning disabilities are dying earlier than the general population, mainly from preventable and treatable physical health conditions. The life expectancy of those with serious mental illnesses, including psychosis, schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, may be reduced by as much as twenty years.
Side effects of medication, lifestyle choices and difficulty accessing mainstream health services are thought to be contributing factors to this lowered life expectancy.
At Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust (TEWV) we want to address this health inequality. We offer regular physical health screening and monitoring and are committed to supporting people in our care to choose healthier lifestyles to improve their health and wellbeing.
Robert Redfern, project manager for physical health and severe mental illness at TEWV said “Monitoring people’s physical health is incredibly important. We know that people living with a mental health condition, particularly psychosis or schizophrenia, are less likely to access the support they need for any physical health complaint or condition, increasing their risk of more serious complications and in some instances death.
“By undertaking simple checks like blood pressure, glucose regulation or changes in weight we can spot indicators that someone may not be doing so well physically and support them to access the help they need.
“Asking people about their lifestyles also highlights areas that could impact people’s long term health enabling us to offer appropriate interventions such as smoking cessation.
“We want to make sure that our service users are given the best possible chance to live healthy lives and that they have the same access to diagnosis and treatment as the general population. We will do everything we can to help people access the support they need and will encourage them to make positive changes to assist their recovery, improve their lives and minimise the impact of mental ill health or a learning disability.”
Find out more about physical health monitoring in patient and carer information L1037.
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