People with severe mental illness need to take extra care of their physical health because unfortunately they're at greater risk of certain health conditions that can be serious.

There are lots of reasons why someone with a severe mental health issue might be more likely to develop a preventable health condition. For example:

  • Some mental health problems and / or medication can affect energy levels and the motivation to take care of oneself.
  • Some people may find it hard to arrange or attend medical appointments if their mental health problem affects concentration and the ability to plan.
  • Some people with mental ill-health may find it difficult to describe their needs and use health services.
  • Sometimes, healthcare professionals may make an assumption that an individual isn't currently capable of making changes, so won’t offer any support to cut down on drinking or to give up smoking.
  • Sometimes, healthcare professionals may assume that physical symptoms are part of somebody's mental illness and not investigate them further. People with a mental illness are less likely to receive routine checks (like blood pressure, weight and cholesterol) that might detect symptoms of physical health conditions earlier.
  • An individual might be keen to find out more, but doesn't feel able without somebody to support them.

The good news is that many health conditions can be treated and attending an annual physical health check is an important first step towards improving physical health by helping pick up on potential issues before they become more of a health problem.

When you attend an annual physical health check, your GP will be able to spot health conditions that are starting to develop, or advise you on health conditions that you might develop. The earlier this happens, the sooner steps can be taken to improve your health or reduce the risk of your health deteriorating.

This could mean a better quality of life for years to come.

Sheffield Mind has been commissioned by the CCG to offer support to people with severe mental illness (SMI), to access an annual health check with their GP. Improving access to physical health checks for people with SMI is part of the NHS Long Term Plan, with the aim of 390,000 people with SMI receiving physical health checks by 2023/24.

Our friendly and helpful Health Engagement Officer, Haeran, can arrange to speak to you on the phone, to answer any queries or concerns you might have about the annual health check. He can also help you make the GP appointment and in some cases he can help you get to that appointment at the GP's.

If you would like more information about this service, please email [email protected] or phone 0114 258 4489