The physical health needs of people living with a mental illness have been neglected for decades. Due to poor health care, people with mental illness are more likely to develop chronic diseases at a younger age, have increased drug and alcohol use, experience greater lifestyle risks, develop complex health needs and co-morbidity due to untreated conditions, are less likely to get evidence-based treatments and health checks, face barriers in accessing services and die 15-20 years earlier than other in the population.
Research shows links between:
- Depression and anxiety with cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases;
- Chronic pain and suicide;
- Psychotropic medication and metabolic disorders e.g. cardiomyopathy, obesity, & diabetes; and
- Co-morbidity and depression
The link between physical and mental health has been well established, both nationally and internationally, with many studies confirming the need to provide holistic care for people with mental health issues. For this to occur, cultural change is required in the health sector to support the recognition health care as an essential component of the care provided to mental health consumers.
MHCC resources on physical health
MHCC has reviewed a number of recently published Australian and international papers that seek to inform and influence the development of a model of integrated service delivery with particular reference to mental and physical health care in a position paper: Moving beyond integrated delivery for mental and physical health care, June 2016.
MHCC also has completed publications in physical health: