Annual physical health checks for people with a serious mental illness

Research shows that people diagnosed with schizophrenia, bipolar affective disorder, complex emotional disorders or other psychoses, or who take anti-psychotic medication, are at a higher risk of developing certain physical health problems.

 Every adult diagnosed with a severe mental illness (sometimes referred to as an SMI) should be invited to a yearly health check by the NHS.

Just because someone has been diagnosed with a ‘severe mental illness’, doesn’t mean they are severely unwell, in fact many people living with these conditions are active, busy and thriving.

However, if you have been diagnosed with a severe mental illness, attending your annual physical health check can help spot early signs of conditions such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. 

You will also be able to discuss any worries you may have about your mental health, physical health or social needs.

Many people lead busy lives but it is really important for everyone to attend their annual health check. 

There are four organisations carrying out these checks in different areas of Kent and Medway. They will contact you to invite you to an appointment.

What can the annual physical health check for people with a serious mental illness help with?

They can monitor your physical health and check for early signs of certain conditions that can be easier to treat. You can also get advice about changes you might make to help improve your physical health. The organisations carrying out the health checks can also signpost you to support to make these changes, or where to find further information and advice so you can make changes yourself. 

 

How does it work?     

Your GP will let the relevant organisation (depending on where you live in Kent and Medway) know when it’s time for your check-up. You will then be contacted by them to arrange an appointment at a time that suits you. 

 

I feel well – why am I being contacted?

Everyone with a diagnosed severe mental illness is invited to a yearly physical health check by the NHS. It’s a preventative service to make sure any potential health problems are caught early. 
You can also discuss anything else that might be worrying you at a check- up, so it’s a good opportunity to stay on top of any concerns. 

 

What will happen at my appointment?

Usually this will be a finger prick blood test to check your cholesterol and glucose levels. Your blood pressure and weight will also be checked and you will also be asked some simple lifestyle questions. You can also talk through any concerns you have. 

 

Why do you want to ask me about my lifestyle?

You will be asked so advice can be tailored to support your needs. This includes:

  • exercise 
  • diet
  • smoking 
  • alcohol consumption. 

The information you provide means you can get the best advice to help you make gradual, positive changes to your lifestyle to help improve your health and quality of life.
 

Responsibility for providing your annual physical health checks depends on where you live.

Here are the contact details for different areas of Kent and Medway.

East Kent:

Invicta Health

Email: ihc.invictahealthphc@nhs.net

Telephone: 0800 242 5199 (Option 1)

Medway

Medway Community Healthcare 

Email: medch.primarycarenurse@nhs.net

Telephone: 01634 583423

West Kent

Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust (KMPT)

Email: kmpt.wksmi-phn@nhs.net

Telephone: 01622 766939        

North Kent

Porchlight        

Telephone: helpline: call 0800 567 7699. Free to call, 24 hours a day

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