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Improving Physical Health Outcomes for people with Serious Mental Illness

News and updates from todays conference focusing on the 10 key actions outlined in the ‘Improving the physical health of people living with severe mental illness’ NHS England guidance. 


Improving Physical Health Outcomes: a lived experience perspective

Mr Thomas Dunning

Director & Motivational Speaker, Mental Health Runner

Tom started the day with a very powerful presentation about his personal experience with his mental health. He shared a statistic "1 in 4 people will have a mental health problem in their life" "One of these might do exactly what I did, which was to suffer in silence" 

After suddenly losing his brother in 2009 Tom bottled up his feelings and didn't deal with the grief he was experiencing. Tom said "5 years after this my mental health became a serious issue, I started to hear voices telling me to smash things up, telling me I'm worthless, I also started to see things, mainly my brother who died 5 years before".

After amazing support from his partner Amber and support from the charity Rethink, Tom started running, he said "I did a 10k at 23 stone and I hated it, but at the end I felt terrific". "I kept going, I kept running and in 6 months I was down to 16 stone". "I'm not saying running will cure mental health problems, but it will help massively".

Tom concluded his talk by saying "The biggest step is always the smallest - the first step"

And on support for carers of those with mental health problems Tom said "Its getting better, but theres a long way to go".


Improving Physical health checks and monitoringDr Sheila Hardy

Dr Sheila Hardy

Educator for Nurses and Allied Healthcare Professionals – Primary Care, The Charlie Waller Trust

Dr Sheila Hardy PhD MSc BSc NISP RMN RGN is Educator for Nurses and Allied Healthcare Professionals, Charlie Waller Trust. 


Sheila started her talk by saying "Unfortunately lack of services cause a lot of the difficulties".

"Life expectancy for people with serious mental illness is 15-20 years shorter"

Shelia continued by saying "Why is it important to do physical health checks on people with SMI?" " You need to think is what I am doing going to help this person, and make them healthier and to live longer" she also said "use open questions on what is important to health and well being". 


Case Study: Community mental health team improving SMI physical health checks

Ms Sarah HigginsMs Sarah Higgins

Lead Nurse, Milton Keynes Mental Health Services

I have worked as a Registered Mental Health Nurse for the last 25 years in a variety of settings including Acute in-patient, Mental Health Rehabilitation, Drug and Alcohol, Crisis and as a Community Mental Health Manager for three teams. 


Sarah and her colleague Denise talked out how in 2016, they set up a Physical Health Clinic for their patients with SMI's.

Denise said "It was difficult to engage some patients, so if they couldnt attend the clinic, we would visit them in their own homes". 

Sarah said " We had to educate the service users as to why we are doing the health checks and we have definitely faced some challenges, but its going really well and we are reaching our targets". 


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