S10: To improve physical health of mental health consumers with severe mental illness.

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By September 4, 2019 No Comments

Authors: Ruffita Oey, Peter Woollett

Year: 2019

Event: 2019 TheMHS Conference

Subject: To improve physical health of mental health consumers with severe mental illness.

Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers



Ruffita Oey is a clinical nurse specialist currently working at Ryde Community Mental Health and previously worked at Sydney St Vincent's Hospital PECC and mental health inpatient units. Ruffita has completed her post graduate degree in psychology and is passionate to conduct further study in the field.

Despite the significant changes in psychiatric care Australian with severe mental illness (SMI) continue to experience higher morbidity and mortality rates compare to the general public. Therefore the focus of this Physical Health Clinic Project is to create a long term integration of physical health care within community mental health service by working collaboratively with consumers, supporting clinician’s knowledge and skill development as well as strengthening relationship with local services.

In line with NSW Health Physical Health Care of Mental Health Consumers Guideline (2017) the Ryde Community Mental Health Physical Health Clinic provide consumers early screening, monitoring and physical health follow up to and to enable successful early detection of co-morbidity, assist consumer to adopt long term healthy lifestyle changes to improve quality of life. In the spirit of integrated care, close working relationships has been establish with local services including ccCHIP (Collaborative Centre for Cardiometabolic Health in Psychosis), Ryde Hospital Diabetes Services, Ryde Hospital gym centre and Exercise physiologist. Lastly in-services, staff trainings are held to improve clinician’s skills and monthly meetings are conducted to identify barriers, challenges and discuss ideas with all clinical staffs to improve systematic structures in order to deliver better care and service.

Learning Objectives

Learning Objective 1: The presentation goal is to discuss the inequality in physical health status for people with severe mental illness and to propose a possible solution; whole system approach in a community mental health setting to improve integration between physical and mental health care. The goal is for mental health consumers to embrace long term healthy lifestyle changes and for mental health clinicians to support these changes.
The presentation will explore the step by step planning, strategies and barriers that the service face in its journey to improve integration of physical health care.

Learning Objective 2: Mental Health Consumers are more vulnerable in terms of their physical health compare to the general population. Consumers with mental health issues whom are taking psychotropic medications are twice more likely to develop cardiovascular diseases, type II diabetes, respiratory diseases, metabolic syndrome and six times more likely to develop dental health issues.
Therefore the result and outcome of this project is highly relevant to the long term care and wellbeing of consumers with mental health issue. Should the project is effective in achieving long term change, the model is be implement to other community mental health teams that provide intensive support for mental health consumers.


1) Edmunds, M. 2018, “Inequitable physical illness and premature mortality for people with severe mental illness in Australia: A social Analysis”, Health and Human Rights Journal. Vol 20, no 1.

2) NSW Department of Health. 2017, “Physical Health Care of Mental Health Consumers”, Better Health Center- Publication WWarehouse, North Sydney.

3) Royal Australia and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP). 2015, “Keeping Body and Mind Together-Improving the physical health and life expectancy of people with serious mental illness”, RANZCP, Victoria.

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