Mental health

 

The link between physical and mental health is often overlooked and COVID-19 presents additional risks. 

 

Eighty percent of people with mental illness also have serious physical health conditions, like heart disease, diabetes, cancer, stroke or kidney disease.

The link between physical and mental ill health goes both ways. Chronic disease can increase risk of mental illness. Many people with chronic conditions experience anxiety or depression, and these conditions can have a significant social impact.​

COVID-19 is creating a new set of uncertainties that further exacerbate risk, due to the effects of social isolation and financial insecurity, as well risk factors like smoking, alcohol consumption and unhealthy diet. 

Prevention and early detection

Follow up any outstanding appointments that may have been delayed due to COVID-19 to improve treatment options. ​It is important to consider whole person care - both physical and mental health at appointments.

Simple checks can help to assess risk of chronic disease and detect conditions early to improve treatment options: 

 

Other changes can reduce risk: 

  • Eating more fruit and vegetables

  • Limiting unhealthy fatty foods

  • Being physically active

  • Not smoking

  • Reducing alcohol consumption.

  • Visiting your GP to manage blood pressure and any medications.

ACDPA's work

 

Each year, over 10,000 people with mental illness die from chronic physical health conditions – equivalent to 28 people every day. This is more than the number of premature deaths from suicide and road accidents combined. 

On World Mental Health Day, ACDPA and Equally Well Alliance put out a media release highlighting the importance of checking mental and physical health for people living with mental illness, for people with chronic conditions and as a reminder for health professionals.

See the factsheet on mental and physical health.

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© 2020 Australian Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance