This article is a little self-promoting (in that it promotes the services of the group of people who treat this issue) - but important nevertheless.
People with serious mental illness face a
‘scandal of premature mortality’.
Life expectancy is up to 15 years less for
people with serious mental illness than for
the rest of the population. This important
and widening mortality gap is more due
to cardiovascular disease than suicide,
which is often incorrectly assumed to be
the only driver of increased mortality in
the mentally ill. People with mental illness
have high rates of obesity and
lifestyle-related diseases and smoking
rates three times that of the general
The common conceptualisation of
physical activity interventions as diversional,
social or subtherapeutic strategies
for people living with mental illness must
be therefore reconsidered.
of exercise and dietary interventions
within the standard multidisciplinary
treatment of mental illness is likely to
have important short-term benefits for
mental and physical health as well as preventing
the development of chronic
physiotherapists, exercise physiologists
and dietitians are ideally equipped to
bridge the gap between physical and
mental healthcare, ensuring that we
‘keep the body in mind’ in the holistic
treatment of those experiencing mental
Medical students must
learn about the benefits of augmenting
usual care with facilitated physical activity,
while physiotherapists, exercise physiologists
and other exercise professionals must
understand the pivotal role they can play
in improving the life expectancy, and
expectations of life, of people with mental
illness. As eloquently stated in a 2014
Lancet Psychiatry editorial, it is time to
‘activate and integrate’ to overcome
therapeutic nihilism regarding the physical
health of those experiencing mental
The principles enshrined in the
international Healthy Active Lives (HeAL)
Declaration outline how these aspirations
can be transformed into targets, and the
actions needed to see these goals achieved
Keeping the Body in Mind in Youth with Psychosis
Healthy Active Lives (HeAL)
What is HeAL?
A group of clinicians, service users, family members and researchers from eleven countries have joined forces to develop an international consensus statement on improving the physical health of young people with psychosis.
The statement, called Healthy Active Lives (HeAL), aims to reverse the trend of people with severe mental illness dying early by tackling risks for future physical illnesses pro-actively and much earlier.
Compared to their peers who have not experienced psychosis, young people with psychosis face a number of preventable health inequalities:
- A lifespan shortened by about 15-20 years.
- Two to three times the likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease making it the single most common cause of premature death (more so than suicide)
- Two to three times the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes.
- Three to four times the likelihood of being a smoker.
Full note available via Sci-hub.cc, Just type in the PubMed ID (PMID): 25807153
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