Long-term conditions and Mental Health

Posted on: 28th February 2012

When you have the flu, you feel lousy. It isn’t just the blocked nose, constant shivers, headaches, or host of physiological symptoms; you feel lousy because you don’t emotionally feel like yourself.

Feeling low is a normal response when you’re unwell, so it’s important not to overlook how physical health effects mental health. For people with long-term conditions this is particularly true. More than 4 million people in England with a long-term physical health condition also experience mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression. This represents about 30% of people living with long-term conditions.

This month The Kings Fund and the Centre for Mental Health published their study, “Long-term conditions and mental health: The cost of co-morbidities“. It offers insight into the current health outcomes of living with both physical health and mental health conditions and suggests how care could be improved for individuals to ensure better outcomes.

Body & Soul features as a case study on page 19 of the report, looking at our psychosocial interventions. At Body & Soul we recognize that supporting an individual’s mental health is vital to ensure the best outcomes for members, which is why there’s an extensive range of support including informal group sessions, trained peer mentors, and counselling with our specialist counsellor. We’re also doing outreach work with peer mentoring in clinics, which I will be writing a bit more about next time!

If you have time the report is worth a read (and we promise, it’s genuinely interesting!). With the numbers of people living with long-term conditions and mental health conditions representing 6% of the UK population, chances are you know someone affected by this issue.

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