Authors: Donni Johnston
Event: 2019 TheMHS Conference
Subject: Making Supported Accommodation a part of a Healthier Community.
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Donni Johnston is the Senior Community Nutritionist at Metro South Addiction and Mental Health Service on the Southside of Brisbane. She’s been working in mental health services for over 9 years and is passionate about improving the physical health of people living with mental illness. Her current role involves working at an organisational and community level to establish settings that are conducive to healthy eating. Current projects focus on the supported accommodation setting and workforce development. Previous areas of interest include early life nutrition and food security.
Supported accommodation residential services in Queensland (also known as boarding houses, small group homes or hostels) house the most vulnerable people in our community; predominantly people living with severe mental illness and intellectual disabilities.
For those with a severe mental illness, life expectancy can be reduced by up to 25 years compared to the wider population, predominantly due to high rates of preventable, lifestyle-related chronic diseases (1).
Dietary risks are one of the greatest predictors of chronic disease in Australia (2). Supported accommodation provides all residents meals, every day of the year making this an ideal setting to impact residents health. The Healthy eating in supported accommodation project aimed to ensure that these sites were conducive to healthy eating as we know the places where people live are a key influencer of health.
The projects practical strategies focused on the meals provided, the physical environment of this setting and influencing external support organisations and legislation.
This is an example of how mental health services can partner with the Department of Housing and Public Works, supported accommodation providers and other health services to positively impact the health and lives of over 4347 residents.
Learning Objective 1:The audience will gain an understanding of how mental health services can impact on the physical health of people living with a mental illness by partnering to create healthier living environments.
Learning Objective 2:This topic is relevant to how mental health services are addressing the health disparities amongst those living with a mental illness and working to reduce the current life expectancy gap.
1. Newcomer, JW. Antipsychotic medications: metabolic and cardiovascular risk. Journal Clin Psychiatry 2007; 68: 8–13.
2. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2012). Risk factors contributing to chronic disease. Cat. no. PHE 157. Retrieved from https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/chronic-disease/evidence-for-chronic-disease-risk-factors/contents/summary