Physical healthcare for people with mental health problems: Why do we so often get it wrong?

I recently completed some postgraduate study in systemic and family therapy, which I did in order to help me work more effectively with the very vulnerable families that come into contact with child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS). What I didn’t expect was the way it made me reflect on communication between various agencies, and how bizarre and dysfunctional it can be. There was a prime example of this on Twitter today, courtesy of @debecca.

People with mental health problems sometimes have physical health problems. In fact, they’re statistically more likely to have such problems than those who don’t have a mental health problem. There are a number of reasons for this: if you have a mental health problem, you’re more likely to live in poverty, or in substandard housing, to have a poor diet, to be engaging in risky behaviour or drug/alcohol use, to be experiencing the side-effects of psychiatric medications, and so on. And of course, there’s the simple fact that people with mental health problems are people, and people sometimes get sick.

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