Sally is a clinically trained Psychologist who has worked in clinical and project management positions across mental health alcohol, and other drugs services (MHAOD). Sally currently job-shares the position of manager of the Queensland Mental Health Clinical Collaborative (MHCC) a mental health service initiative which she has been managing since it commenced in 2005. Sally is also undertaking a PhD on the topic of smoking cessation in people with serious mental illness.
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.