For people with severe mental illness

Summarised in an Academy of Royal Colleges publication66 types of physical health problems associated with mental ill health include:

  • Major depression doubles the lifetime risk of developing Type 2 diabetes
  • Standardised mortality rates for older people with depression is two to three times higher if untreated or unresolved
  • People with schizophrenia are three to four times more likely to develop bowel cancer
  • People with schizophrenia have a 52 per cent increased risk of developing breast cancer.

Co-morbid health anxieties or mental health disorders are associated with:

  • Poorer objective health outcomes
  • Poorer subjective health outcomes
  • Higher use of healthcare resources
  • Wider costs of, for example, lack of employment, sickness absence, informal family care and support.

Many individuals do not have physical and psychological needs met through:

  • The continued stigma of mental health problems
  • Physical explanations may be more acceptable and understandable
  • A continued lack of expertise and training in psychological assessment, management and mindedness for many practitioners
  • Inadequate service design and provision
  • Lack of integrated ‘whole person’ commissioning structures and provider organisations

NICE clinical guidelines for schizophrenia and bipolar disorders 67-68 include recommendations for physical healthcare, and within regular case reviews, community mental health services are expected to ensure access to regular physical health checks and healthcare.