“People with serious mental illness and/or addiction issues experience significantly worse physical health than the general population and we can do something about this.” This is what the Equally well collective tells us and it is quite significant: life expectancy can be reduced by up to 25 years.
The evidence also tells us people with mental health issues are2 to 3 times more likely to smoke, and while they may have similar rates of colorectal cancer, they are 3 times more likely to die from it.
So what can we do about it? One of our design challenges is, “How might primary care (the general practice), secondary mental health and addictions (specialist mental health services) and community work together as one system to support the outcomes that matter to the population they serve in Tāmaki?”
By integrating general practice, specialist mental health services and community better, we are more likely to move away from providing healthcare for a mental health diagnosis only and create a coordinated response that addresses the physical health, mental health and social needs of the person.
To find out more about Equally Well, follow this link.