Here are some answers to frequently asked questions for those who have received an invitation for a mental health phyical review.
Why I have been offered a mental health physical review?
People who have a severe mental health illness (SMI) such as personality disorders, schizophrenia or people who are taking certain medication such as mood stabilisers or antipsychotics sadly die on average 10-20 years younger than those who do not. The reason for this is often related to their physical health, such as heart problems. Often, the underlying health problems can be treated, such as high blood pressure. The earlier we find the problems, the sooner we can try to prevent long term harm.
What will a physcial review involve?
A mental health physcial review is very similar to most long term condition reviews. We will first ask you a few lifestyle questions followed by taking your height, weight and blood pressure. If you haven’t had any bloods taken recently we will also arrange to have a check on your cholesterol and blood sugars. It may be that several long term conditions are covered in one slightly longer appointment – such as reviewing your diabetes along with your mental health physical review.
Can I discuss my mental health during my physcial health review?
Whilst we are always here to help with mental health if you are struggling, your mental health physical review should be a time to focus on your physcial risks rather than discuss your mental health problems. Our team will always be happy to arrange a follow up review with your usual doctor if you would like to discuss your mental health at another time.
But I previously had mental health problems, or took medication that I no longer take… why me?
Although you may no longer struggle with mental health, or take medications, your risk is higher than the average population. This is much like smoking – if you stop smoking, your risk of problems like COPD and cancer can be higher for a long time after giving up cigarettes. This is also true for significant mental illness or for certain medications.
But what’s the point if I do have any of these problems?
If you do have risks for physical health, then the sooner we find the problems, the sooner we can help prevent any future harm they may cause. This may be offering support to lose weight, stop smoking, improve diabetes, or it may be that the problem if best controlled by medication.
I have already had a physcial review last year. Why am I being offered one again?
We offer all people on the SMI register a yearly health check. This is because your personal risk and health changes over time. The sooner we find any risks, the sooner we can help
I have more questions or would like to arrange an appointment.
We would be very happy to discuss any further questions or if you would like to arrange an appointment do not hesitate to contact the practice.