We all have to look after our health, but people with severe mental illness (SMI) need to be a little extra careful. Individuals with SMI will most likely have a diagnosis of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Your medication and lifestyle could put you at risk of certain health problems. The good news is, you’re entitled to an annual health check to get advice and support.
What will happen at my annual physical health check?
The health check will be completed by a competent healthcare practitioner. This may be done at your GP Practice, may be done by specialist mental health workers in the community, or may be done by your community mental health team if you are receiving care from a specialist team.
- Weigh you and/or measure your waist. This is to see if you are at risk of developing diabetes, heart attack or stroke. Being too heavy can also increase your chance of getting other physical problems.
- Measure your blood pressure. Raised blood pressure can contribute to heart attack and stroke.
- Take a blood test to check your cholesterol and sugar levels, and make sure they aren’t too high. Raised cholesterol can also increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. High blood sugar can mean you have diabetes.
You will also discuss:
- Side effects of medication
- Smoking, alcohol and use of non-prescription drugs
- Exercise and diet
- Other health problems
- What help you have or need at home
- How you keep yourself well
The Good Health Guide is full of practical information and helpful tips for people severely affected by mental illness. The Professionals who do your physical health check will also be able to advise you on ways to improve your physical health, and link you to organisations and services in your local community who can help.