S40: SYMPOSIUM: Mindgardens: Integrating Physical Health within Mental Health Services

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By December 7, 2022 No Comments

Authors: Rachel Morell, Jackie Curtis, Catherine O'Donnell, Patrick Gould, Hamish Fibbins, Scott Teasdale

Year: 2022

Event: 2022 TheMHS Conference

Subject: physical health, smoking, addiction, services, covid

Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers

Abstract: SYMPOSIUM: Mindgardens: Navigating the complexity of integrating evidence-based physical health care interventions within mental health services

Physical health interventions are increasingly recognised as core components of mental healthcare given the impact on both physical and mental health outcomes for people living with severe mental illness. Despite these interventions being recognised in numerous treatment guidelines and national and state health policies, access to individualised, face-to-face programs for those with severe mental illness remains limited.

The 2019 Lancet Psychiatry Commission on the protection of physical health in people with mental illness recommended the integration of physical health interventions for people with mental illness across primary care, secondary services, and low- and middle-income settings, and the use of implementation science to evaluate their feasibility and effectiveness as standard care in mental health services (Firth et al, 2019).

In this symposium, members of the Mindgardens Neuroscience Network will outline multidisciplinary physical health screening and intervention programs that have been successfully implemented and scaled across various mental health care settings. Presenters will describe strategies to implementation such as enablers and barriers, with delegates gaining knowledge of how to best establish physical health interventions in real-world mental health services.

The work displayed in these presentations are important steps in supporting mental health services to integrate the recommendations of the Equally Well Consensus Statement for Improving the Physical Health and Wellbeing of People Living with Mental Illness in Australia, and the Equally Well A Global Call to Action Fair and equitable access to vaccination for people living with mental illness and substance use disorders.

Key presentations will include:

Describing the impact of a co-designed, nurse and peer led vaccine clinic embedded in a public mental health service. The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted people who experience a mental illness. People living with mental illness are twice as likely to be hospitalised or die from COVID-19, and carry an increased risk of morbidity and mortality from influenza, pneumonia and tuberculosis. This service demonstrated that, when provided equitable access, information, and peer support, people who experience mental illness were not only accepting, but equally willing as the general public to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

The process of developing a nutrition screening tool for mental health services in order to identify ‘at-risk’ people and provide intervention by specialist clinicians. NSW Health Policy (PD2017_041) states that nutrition screening in hospital settings is part of routine clinical care, however screening tools commonly used in mental health do not adequately target the nutritional risks experienced by people using mental health services. This presentation will describe the development process of a new targeted tool, including literature review, examination of questions in commonly used tools, international workshops and preliminary feasibility studies.

The establishment of an evidence-based lifestyle program (including exercise and diet) for people with severe mental illness within primary healthcare in Central and Eastern Sydney. Barriers and enablers of the implementation and delivery of the program as described by participants, referrers and the service delivery team will be presented.

Implementation of an NSW state-wide tobacco treatment service for people living with severe mental illness. The service incorporates individualised smoking cessation support from a Tobacco Treatment Specialist and a Tobacco Treatment Peer Worker through targeted 12-week intervention. Service components include health coaching and behavioural support, Nicotine Replacement Therapy prescription provided by hospital services, and prescription of pharmacotherapies. This service directly addresses key action items in the Mental Health Commission’s Strategic Plan, and the NSW Health Physical Health Care for People Living with Mental Health Issues Guidelines which reports tobacco cessation interventions incorporating tobacco treatment specialists as an action area.

Integration of a lifestyle health program for people with severe mental illness led by peer health coaches in a community managed organisation. This program demonstrates collaboration between public mental health services and health-based NGOs as well as the effectiveness of championing mental health peer supports to guide health interventions. A qualitative co-evaluation method was adopted to investigate the experiences of participants of the program and the knowledge transfer from this program component will be reported in the presentation.

A Q & A session will conclude the symposium allowing delegates to further enquire and understand the physical health interventions and the research and evaluation presented.

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