Opinion Former Article

New report shows scandalous lack of physical health support for people with schizophrenia, says Rethink

Nearly three quarters of people with schizophrenia are missing out on vital support for their physical health, according to the first ever national audit for people with severe mental illness.

The National Audit of Schizophrenia was commissioned by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership and carried out by the Royal College of Psychiatrists in partnership with the charity Rethink Mental Illness and other organisations.

Around 6,000 people with schizophrenia  took part in the audit, with only 29 percent having received a full physical health check for risk factors such as cardiometabolic disease. 43 percent of those surveyed had not even been weighed within the previous 12 months.

Paul Jenkins, Chief Executive of Rethink Mental Illness, said: “These figures are extremely alarming. People with severe mental illness die on average twenty years younger than the general population, mostly due to preventable physical conditions like heart disease and diabetes.

“This urgently needs to be addressed. It doesn’t take much time or money for health professionals to carry out a proper physical health check, and it really is a disgrace that so many people with schizophrenia are not getting the basic physical health support that the NICE guidelines recommend.

“There are simple steps that health professionals can take to make sure that people’s physical health needs are not overlooked. We have developed a free physical health check for health professionals to make sure physical health is properly monitored. 

“It’s vital that professionals act on this issue so that we can start to reduce the number of people with mental illness who are dying needlessly every year."

ENDS


For more information or to obtain a copy of the Integrated Physical Health Pathway, please contact Brian Semple, Media Relations Officer for Rethink Mental Illness on 0207 840 3043 or email brian.semple@rethink.org

Rethink Mental Illness

Rethink Mental Illness is a charity that believes a better life is possible for millions of people affected by mental illness.

For 40 years we have brought people together to support each other. We run services and support groups that change people’s lives and challenge attitudes about

mental illness.

We directly support almost 60,000 people every year across England to get through crises, to live independently and to realise they are not alone.

We give information and advice to 500,000 more and we change policy for millions.

For more information go to www.rethink.org

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