General Practitioner Ambassador
Q: What are your goals for Equally Well? What inspires you about Equally Well?A: The importance of lifestyle and social determinants in the physical and mental health of those with mental illness cannot be understated. I am proud that Equally Well is working to recognise and prioritise these areas to improve the health of so many who suffer, often unnecessarily.
Q: How do you see Equally Well benefiting carers/consumers/practitioners?A: Equally Well can be a consistent force for positive change in the healthcare sector by ensuring the needs of carers and consumers are remembered, their strengths utilised and training for practitioners providing care can be optimised.
Q: What hurdles do you currently see Equally Well facing and will have to face in the future? Is there a particular area you believe needs more focus that Equally Well can develop on?A: Barriers to the health of those with mental illness must be addressed sincerely. These barriers often do not exist in the patient with mental illness but rather the culture and society they live in and the health practitioners who provide their care. Evidence indicates that health practitioners frequently are either too busy or ill-trained to manage the lifestyle and cultural determinants of poor health. Furthermore, Equally Well needs to champion change at the roots of disease, being social and environmental factors.
Q: What have you personally learnt and has this knowledge impacted your life and/or the lives of those around you?A: I have been working in this space intensely for years and still I am constantly learning and being impacted by the experience at so many levels of my personal and professional being. Above all that, often the same lifestyle, environmental and cultural measures to improve physical health are the same measures that improve mental health.
Q: As an Equally Well Ambassador, you are an advocate for improving the physical health of those who suffer from a mental illness, since the symposium, have there been any new developments or research in your field?A: There are constantly developments in this field. I have recently published a literature review article on this in the Australian Journal of General Practice Oct 2019 “Lifestyle interventions for those with Mental Illness”. Furthermore, the Australasian Society of Lifestyle Medicine is developing therapeutic guidelines for lifestyle interventions for the physical and mental health of those with mental illness, to be used as an evidence based guideline by health practitioners.
Q: What do you see is your role for EW as one of our ambassadors?A: Promote the core mission of Equally Well, that physical and mental health is a basic human right, and the work and resources Equally Well offers. Furthermore to assist Equally Well in identifying and reducing barriers to care in those who suffer from mental illness.