Physical health checks for people with severe mental illness from African and Caribbean communities – findings from co-production
Race Equality Foundation (REF), fellow members of the VCSE Health & Wellbeing Alliance, have released a report on physical health checks for people with severe mental illness from African and Caribbean communities.
People with severe mental illness face health inequalities. They are more likely to have a preventable physical illness, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, than the general population which can lead to a 15-to-20-year premature mortality gap. They are also more likely to have comorbidities and multimorbidities. Research suggests rates of preventative screening such as physical health checks and cancer screening, are lower among people with a severe mental illness.
In 2021, REF started a project to better understand whether African and Caribbean people with severe mental illness were aware of, and accessing, physical health checks, an NHS intervention to detect and treat early signs of physical ill health.
Through partnering with three specialist African and Caribbean-led voluntary organisations, REF heard from people with severe mental illness and staff supporting them. There was variation in awareness of physical health checks among people and staff across different locations, with significantly lower awareness in some areas. People faced a number of challenges in accessing primary care.
You can access the report here.