Siskind, Dan 2023 03 14

Dan Siskind

Prof Siskind trained as a psychiatrist in Australia and the United States. He works clinically as a psychiatrist in Brisbane, Australia with people with treatment refractory schizophrenia. His research interests include treatment refractory schizophrenia, clozapine and the physical health comorbidities associated with schizophrenia. He has over 200 publications and over $41million in competitive research grants, with over $6million as CI.


Title: Supporting metabolic health for Queenslanders living with serious mental illness and/or substance use

Author(s): Sally Plever, Irene McCarthy, Dan Siskind

Introduction: People experiencing serious mental illness (SMI) have reduced life expectancy because of preventable physical health conditions such as cardiovascular disease and people experiencing SMI are less likely to receive adequate physical health care. Queensland Health, Mental Health Alcohol and Other Drug (MHAOD) services have been developing local activities aimed at providing mental health and physical health care to address this issue. However, little was known about existing programs, prompting a scan of initiatives.

Method: In March 2022 the Queensland MHAOD and Diabetes Clinical Networks partnered to support mental health and endocrine wellbeing for people with SMI. A working group formed with statewide representation from clinicians, people with lived experience, endocrinologists, public health physicians, nurse navigators, dietitians, and exercise physiologists to identify practice examples optimising physical health and mental health care within MHAOD services.

Results & Findings: Statewide over 25 programs addressing the physical health and wellbeing of people experiencing SMI, across the lifespan, were identified. While not exhaustive, the examples provided a broad variety of existing programs addressing physical health including cardio-metabolic health, oral health, smoking cessation, sexual health, nutrition, and physical activity. A summary document was developed organising activities according to mental health program area, wellbeing/lifestyle interventions targeted, and evidence-base.

Discussion:The variety of physical health interventions being delivered in Queensland MHAOD services statewide is considerable, with programs addressing a broad array of physical health areas. Most commonly programs are provided as part of existing resources with few funded to support service delivery or evaluation. Consequently, it has proven challenging for services to report outcomes or costing of program delivery. It is anticipated that the summary document will provide a resource enabling services to engage with consumers, carers, and service partners to identify opportunities to implement physical health activities to improve health outcomes for people experiencing SMI and/or substance use disorders.