In 2016, Neami National in South Australia, together with Central Adelaide Local Health Network (CALHN) launched a program to address physical health issues in consumers.
This was in response to the Department of Health indicating that around 50% of people diagnosed with a mental illness have metabolic syndrome, which is diagnosed when someone has at least three risk factors related to their physical health.
Neami and CALHN created and distributed a brochure and video, and held 'physical health days' at Western and Eastern Mental Health offices in Adelaide. These physical health days were offered every three months with the Neami Health Promotion Officer and a Mental Health Nurse from CALHN. Consumers had their weight, height, waist measurement, blood pressure and glucose levels checked. These levels were recorded and consumers could discuss any physical health concerns and be given information and resources.
Eighteen months later, we are proud to say this partnership is continuing, with consumers continuing to have their physical health checks at both SA Health Western and Eastern Community Mental Health offices. We are seeing the number of participants increasing, with more than sixteen people at each location having their checks and seeking advice, and finding out more about improving their physical health.
"Use of the physical health check station areas as well as visual and handout resources designed with the help of consumer input, has seen increased numbers of community consumers undertake a physical health assessment and receive education and follow up on the high importance of care and treatment of physical health, healthy eating and activity in mental health." – Lisa Varona, Lead Occupational Therapist, Central Adelaide Local Health Network.