A message from Associate Professor Jackie Curtis
I have had the fortune of practicing and researching physical health care across mental health settings for the past 15 years. It is truly exciting to see the growing body of evidence harnessed to inform and update the Physical Health Care for People Living with Mental Health Issues Guideline.
In health, we understand that ’prevention is better than cure’. Early intervention and health promotion is key to reducing the ‘seeding’ of poor health outcomes that can lead to cardiovascular and diabetes risks that impact future health.
We must also embrace the motto ‘don’t just screen, intervene”, which prompts us to act, through investigation or treatment, on physical health anomalies exposed during routine screening.
Just as there is no single cause to the disruption of cardiometabolic health for people living with mental health issues, there is equally no single solution. Interventions must target the identified risk factors and behaviours, involve collaboration and integration with other services and providers, be evidence based and individualised, all while including the person with lived experience as well as family/carers at the centre of decision making.
The publication of this guideline and associated resources is yet another milestone in the improvement of physical and mental health care and a step toward closing the life expectancy gap of people living with mental health issues.
Dr Jackie Curtis FRANZCP, GAICD
Director, Mindgardens Neuroscience Network
Clinical Lead, Youth Mental Health - South Eastern Sydney Local Health District
Conjoint Associate Professor, UNSW
The guideline - Physical Health Care for People Living with Mental Health Issues (GL2021_006) outlines the measures and actions required to provide high quality, holistic, person centered physical health care.
The five chapters of this guideline can be read together or independently. While the Guideline provides defining actions for improvement, there is flexibility to implement measures according to your local population and context.
A collection of resources, tools and supports has been collated to support the implementation of the guideline.
Considerations for specific populations
Prevention and health promotion
Access and intervention
Effective and Integrated care