Physical health and mental health


British Association for Psychopharmacology guidelines on the management of weight gain, metabolic disturbances and cardiovascular risk associated with psychosis and antipsychotic drug treatment -2016) - This guideline, although mainly aimed at secondary care, describes the risks associated with antipsychotic usage and interventions that may address them. Pages 4-6 of the document are particularly pertinent to primary care.

Useful resources

Lester Screening Tool - This is an physical health screening tool and intervention framework for people with a diagnosis of psychosis or schizophrenia.

Patient and carer information

RCPsych: Coping with physical illness - This discusses how serious physical illness, and the treatment for it, can affect mental health.

RCPsych: Medically unexplained symptoms - Information from the RCPsych on MUS for patients, including an explanation of the problem, self-help and treatments.

Further information and reading

Academy of Medical Royal Colleges - Improving the physical health of adults with severe mental illness: essential actions -2016) - This report recommends practical ways to improve physical healthcare services for people with SMI.

Early Intervention in Psychosis (PDF file, 1,346 KB) – Keeping the Body in Mind -2014)  - This short guide illustrates the Lester approach to protecting cardiometabolic health in psychosis.

Medically Unexplained Symptoms -2014) - Advice and guidance for health professionals in approaching medically unexplained symptoms.

NHS England and NHS Improvement - an Approach to Reducing Health Inequalities: supporting information Core20PLUS5 -2021) - Core20PLUS5 is a national NHS England and NHS Improvement approach to support the reduction of health inequalities at both the National and System level. It includes work on five clinical areas of focus, including severe mental illness -SMI): ensuring annual health checks for 60% of those living with SMI -bringing SMI in line with the success seen in learning disabilities).

NHS England – Improving the physical health of people with serious mental illness – A practical toolkit -2016) - This toolkit takes a practical approach to the elements of improving physical health for people with SMI, including what needs to be done, and by whom.

NHS England – Improving physical healthcare for people living with severe mental illness -SMI) in primary care -2018) - Although aimed at commissioners, this guidance is focused on securing improvements in physical health care for people with SMI within primary care, where the majority of people living with an SMI receive their care and treatment.

NHS England - Promoting Awareness of physical health in people with a serious mental illness -2018) - This 7 minute video uses a case study to demonstrate how we can facilitate the physical health care of people with serious mental illness.

Pharmacy Guidance on Smoking and Mental Disorder (PDF file, 522 KB) - This quick reference guide looks at the benefits of smoking cessation in mental health patients, including effective smoking cessation and reduction interventions and prescribing considerations.

RCGP Screencast – Supporting mental health in low-income communities: learning from the DeSTRESS project - This eLearning screencast discusses the DeSTRESS project, which was set up to understand the challenges facing GPs who see patients with mental distress relating to poverty. The screencast explains some of the evidence linking poverty to poor mental health and discusses some of the difficulties that GPs may face when dealing with such patients.

RCGP Top Tips - Psychodermatology - Psychodermatological disease is incredibly common, yet it often goes unrecognised and untreated.

Treating Depression in People with Coronary Heart Disease - Primary care guidance on spotting and treating depression in people with coronary heart disease.

Wonca guidance on caring for the physical health of patients with severe mental illness -SMI) - This guide links to a variety of factsheets and PowerPoint slides on physical health in SMI, including diabetes, smoking, respiratory disease, alcohol and substance misuse and cardiovascular disease.