Authors: Erikka Hennessy, Kia Roberts, Georgia Frydman, Kate Anderson, William Woods
Event: 2017 TheMHS Conference
Subject: Wellbeing,Change, Innovation, Reform,Lived Experience, Recovery,Promotion, Prevention, Early Intervention
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: Brief Plan:
This session will focus on the incorporation of allied health professionals in a mental health team. The audience will hear from Dietitians, an Exercise Physiologist and Peer Support Workers who will highlight their role in improving physical health for consumers experiencing mental health concerns. Presenters will highlight how their roles translate throughout a consumer’s journey and will focus on the innovative approach this team has taken to achieve optimum integrated health care. The session will cover service planning, project outcomes and first-hand experience and examples to reinforce the practicality of implementing topics discussed into practice. Dr Anita Star (APD, PhD) will chair the symposia.
Abstract of individual papers:
Kia Roberts (Accredited Practising Dietitian) Will present on her involvement with a recent project reviewing the food service system on the inpatient units. This project incorporated not only the Agency for Clinical Innovation (ACI) Nutrition standards for consumers of Mental Health services in NSW, but also consumer feedback from 139 staff and patients. Together this helped to guide the development of a tailored meal service for patients that meets the ACI guidelines, and also the individual needs of mental health consumers. Kia will present these findings highlighting the importance of a multidisciplinary approach to food services and the use of food services as a means for promoting strategies to improve lifestyle habits for physical health on inpatient units. Kia will also present current evidence on the needs of consumers to be considered in healthy lifestyle education sessions.
Erikka Hennessy (Dietitian) conducted a needs analysis of the district’s population revealing that, among other findings, 86% of consumers have a high risk waist circumference and 40% have elevated total cholesterol. A literature review has revealed that the barriers to physical health for adults living with mental illness are diverse and interconnected in nature. Specific nutrients and interventions have shown potential for psychological and physiological improvements. In addition group education provides various benefits for the consumer and is also cost effective. In SLHD varied group settings have been formally assessed for implementing healthy lifestyle interventions including pre-existing depot clinics, newly established specific healthy lifestyle groups and a one off set of cooking classes was assessed for feasibility. The resulting theses concluded that the interventions analysed showed improvements in nutrition knowledge, attitudes and practices. These findings are especially pertinent given the integral role that nutrition plays in the health of Mental Health Consumers and consequently their recovery. Erikka will present this experience as well as the findings of quality improvement projects and background literature to explore the context of physical health needs in a mental health setting.
Georgia Frydman (Accredited Exercise Physiologist) will share her experiences of establishing an integrated approach to physical health; specifically the outcomes and feasibility of implementing a novel design short form healthy lifestyle programme in the community. The program was focused on improving the knowledge, skills and self-efficacy of attendees and intended to elicit positive lifestyle behaviour changes. The novel design feature of the programme was a shorter delivery time of 1 hour per week rather than the traditional 2hrs; 30 minutes for practical skills-based health education and 30 minutes of low-moderate intensity group physical activity. Six, 12-week groups were facilitated over a 13 month period by a Mental Health Dietitian and Exercise Physiologist with support from Peer Support Workers. Sixty-two consumers attended at least one session of the programme, with an average attendance rate of 42% and 39% (n=24) of participants graduating (i.e.≥80% attendance). From the consumer perspective, experiences were positive.
Peer Support Workers are an integral part of our healthy lifestyle team in SLHD, William Woods, Kate Anderson and Shay Gilbert will speak on their experiences of the service as both consumers and team members in co-facilitation of groups and development of content.
Learning Objective 1:
• A greater understanding and appreciation of the importance of physical health within mental health services.
• The short and long term impact of improving physical health for people with lived experience of mental illness through lifestyle changes
• The role of allied team members and how to integrate and support allied health and peer support professionals and programmes into services.
Learning Objective 2:
There is a reciprocal relationship between severe mental illness and poor physical health, which has led to a reduced life expectancy for people experiencing mental illness of 15 – 20 years. This had led to physical health becoming a priority area for clinicians and policymakers; however a full implementation and integration of physical health services and programs has not yet been achieved. Allied health professionals are well placed to support mental health services in implementing interventions that target outcomes that reduce the prevalence and/or severity of both mental and physical health issues.
Mental Health Commission of New South Wales (2016). Physical Health and Mental Wellbeing: Evidence Guide. Sydney, Mental Health Commission of NSW
Nutrition Standards for Consumers of Mental Health Services in NSW (2013). Agency for Clinical Innovation, NSW.
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