Authors: Grenville Rose, David Pieper
Event: 2017 TheMHS Conference
Subject: Comorbidity, Reducing Stigma and Discrimination, Wellbeing
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: The effect on lifespan of having chronic or recurrent mental health issues is equivalent to, or greater than, a lifetime of heavy smoking, yet physical health is often neglected by mental health professionals. This failure to address physical health needs has been called ‘structural discrimination’ in the British Journal of Psychiatry. Hepatitis C is more prevalent amongst people with mental illness than the general community. Estimates of prevalence are as high as 42% in an Australian mental health population. There has been a revolution in the treatment of Hepatitis C; better tolerated drugs with much greater efficacy and shorter treatment duration are currently available to all Medicare Card holders in Australia with the cost subsidised by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. Older treatments took between six months and a year, were 60-70% effective and had psychosis, depression and suicidal ideation as side effects. Current treatments do not have these psychiatric side effects and result in a cure 95% of the time. Raising awareness of these treatments will help bridge the physical health gap for people with mental health issues and now is a good time for those infected with the virus to consider treatment.
Learning Objective 1: How common hepatitis C is amongst people with mental health issues, and how to talk about Hepatitis C with consumers so as provide effective support.
Learning Objective 2: What we can do now to help people with mental health issues who have Hepatitis C.
Thornicroft, G., Rose, D., & Kassam, A. (2007). Discrimination in health care against people with mental illness. International Review of Psychiatry, 19(2), 113-122. doi:doi:10.1080/09540260701278937
Rose, G., Cama, E., Brener, L., & Treloar, C. (2013). Knowledge and attitudes towards hepatitis C and injecting drug use among mental-health support workers of a community managed organisation. Australian Health Review, 37(5), 654-659. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/AH13134