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Serious Mental Illness (SMI) and Physical Health Checks

Mind in Bradford is leading on work to support people with a Serious Mental Illness (SMI) in the Bradford district and Craven, on behalf of and for the wider mental health system. We work in partnership with primary and statutory care to ensure collaborative working. 

What is SMI?

SMI commonly refers to diagnoses of schizophrenia, bipolar and organic psychosis. 

Our work to support people living with SMI is really important as it hopes to reduce a huge health inequality gap. 

People living with SMI are at risk of dying 15-20 years earlier than the general population, mostly due to treatable and preventable physical health conditions. They are two times more likely to have diabetes and die of cancer, five times more likely to die of liver disease and three times more likely to die of cardiovascular disease. This could be due to a multitude of factors such as lifestyle, medication, or lack of awareness regarding conditions. You can read more in the Mental wellbeing in Bradford district and Craven strategy.

This is the greatest health inequality gap in England.  

In Bradford, there are currently 7,839 people who are diagnosed with a SMI, which equals roughly 1% of the population. 

NHS England is committed to reducing premature mortality among people living with a SMI. As part of this, they encourage and are expanding access to physical health checks so physical conditions can be detected and treated early on. You can read more in their Five Year Forward View for Mental Health.

The 2016-2021 strategy for mental wellbeing in the Bradford district and Craven includes a commitment to reduce premature mortality associated with physical ill health in people living with SMI.  

What are Mind in Bradford doing?

At Mind in Bradford we are working to reduce SMI health inequalities, taking a collaborative approach so that other providers across the district are involved.  

As part of this, we are currently offering free SMI training to all staff across the Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) who support clients with their mental health. The session explores the inequalities people living with SMI face and considers how the VCS and other local organisations can support people and contribute to reducing these inequalities. 

Thank you for the training. It will hopefully be a catalyst for change and ultimately be beneficial to people we work with.

Excellent informative session with lots of excellent discussions that really feel will help towards improving systems currently in place.

We are also looking to fund interventions and programmes to help people reduce smoking, reduce alcohol intake, have a healthier diet and exercise more. 

How can I get support?

If you are aged 14+ and diagnosed with a SMI, your medical practice will invite you for a yearly physical health check. A physical health check includes:

  • weight measurement
  • blood pressure
  • blood tests
  • assessment of alcohol consumption
  • assessment of smoking status.

We encourage anyone with a SMI to take up these health checks. If you haven’t been invited for a physical health check in over a year, we advise you contact your medical practice.

We are currently working to create resources to encourage people to look after their physical health and mental health, and to access the annual physical health checks they are entitled to.

For any further enquiries, please contact [email protected] 

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