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Physical health

Improving the physical health of people with a lived experience of mental illness or alcohol or other drug use is addressed in the Shifting minds Strategic Plan.

People who live with mental illness and problematic alcohol or other drug use are more likely to experience poor physical health. This can not only can hinder their recovery, but can also have financial and social impacts.

Physical health project

The Queensland Mental Health Commission's Physical Health  Project has identified reform opportunities to improve the physical health of people with a lived experience of mental illness and/or problematic alcohol and other drug use.

The project is a response to evidence that Queenslanders with a lived experience have a poorer health status, lower quality of life and reduced life expectancy as a result of preventable illness and chronic disease.

About

Serious physical health symptoms and chronic disease impede recovery and have significant implications for individuals and for the Queensland Health system.

The project was designed to find avenues of systemic improvement that align with the Shifting minds Strategic Plan's Better Lives focus area, through addressing physical health disparities as barriers to social and economic participation.

The Commission engaged Aspex Consulting in October 2018 to analyse the system and consult with key service stakeholders to identify reform opportunities to improve the physical health of people with a lived experience of mental illness or problematic alcohol and other drug use.

Such reform opportunities support the Commission’s commitment to the Equally Well National Consensus Statement for improving the physical health and wellbeing of people living with a mental illness in Australia.

Reform opportunities

The Physical Health Project, completed in October 2019, has identified 12 overarching themes in four categories of reform.  The reform opportunities align with holistic, person-centred approaches to physical and mental health and wellbeing and the principles underpinning Equally Well:

  • individual - protective factors, navigation
  • health service delivery - accountability, models of care, collaborative care
  • system-wide - population health, place-based, partnerships
  • resource and enablers - funding and commissioning, workforce, digital health, research and evaluation.

Where to from here

The Commission will now engage and consult with people with lived experience of mental illness or problematic alcohol and other drug use to gather their views and feedback on the identified reform opportunities.

About the reports

Two key reports from the Physical Health Project are:

The Case for Change report, which summarises key evidence from environmental analysis and research on the burden of disease relating to the prevalence of mental illness and problematic alcohol and other drug (AOD) use; policy positions across Australia; key themes from initiatives that contribute to improving physical health; and barriers and enablers influencing physical health outcomes.

The Strategic Position Paper outlines the project’s key findings, including details of the reform opportunities in the four reform categories (individual, health and service delivery, system-wide, resource and enablers).