New campaign to encourage people with severe mental illness to have physical health checks

10 April 2024

Sussex Health and Care have launched a new campaign to promote the importance of people with a severe mental illness (SMI), including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, having an annual physical health check.

SMI-PHC news story crop.pngWhy is a physical health check important? 

People with an SMI are at greater risk of physical ill health, and an annual physical health check can help to identify any potential issues or conditions that might require further investigation or treatment, such as diabetes, heart disease, breathing conditions and some cancers.

Who can access a free physical health check?

All adults aged 18+, who are registered on the GPs SMI Register, and have a diagnosis of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and/or psychosis.

We also have 24 Access Facilitator roles who are working across Sussex to help support people to access their health checks.

"I always try to create a safe and relaxed environment to help the patient to feel at ease, and answer any questions they have." Jonny, Senior Access Facilitator.

What will the health check involve?

The appointment is an opportunity to raise any health concerns the person may have. It includes:

  • Measurements and screening of things like weight, risk of diabetes and heart health, and the impact of these things on their life.
  • Discussions around their lifestyle, such as activity levels, the foods they usually eat, if they smoke, and alcohol intake.
  • Checking they have access to routine screening programmes, which monitor health and find problems earlier.
  • Discussing how they might improve their health, including supporting them to access services which could help them to identify and meet their health goals.
  • Asking how they are doing and what else they might need.

Patients are also able to bring someone with them to the appointment.

How to access the health check

Patients, or their families/carers, can contact their GP surgery and request a physical health check.

Spread the word

We will be sharing messages across our social media channels over the next few weeks. Please like and share these posts to help as many people as possible to know about the health checks and how they can access theirs.