This page offers ideas and tools to help teams and individuals develop their skills to better support the physical health needs of people who have serious mental illness.
Actions to take
- Develop and deliver training that is empowering and designed to support the development of skills, knowledge and changes in attitudes and behaviours to support the physical health needs of people with serious mental illness (SMI).
- Support the development of a confident and competent workforce with tiered levels of skills. Involve peer support and carers as well as health or care professionals.
- Ensure workplace processes and conditions are in place, including regular supervision, support and reflective practice, as part of ongoing professional development to support people with SMI.
- Ensure all staff have access and the protected time to receive relevant training and education.
1. Within mental health trusts, support scale-up of workforce physical health knowledge and core skills, with a focus on risk assessments, signposting and delivery of lifestyle interventions through education and training
2. Support mental health trusts to develop appropriate resource and skills to deliver quality improvement programmes to deliver change
3. Using available training resources including the Health Education England ‘Train the Trainer toolkit’ to ensure that the primary care workforce receive high-quality training covering basic mental health awareness (at a minimum) and physical health promotion and behaviour change for people living with SMI.
4. Increase competence in health promotion and disease prevention:
- a) Support the development of a confident and competent workforce with tiered levels of skills and proficiency in preventative physical health care.
- b) Use training, health promotion or communications campaigns to focus on why physical health matters and the range of roles staff have to play in supporting good ‘health’, rather than just what the Commissioning for Quality and Innovation (CQUIN) requirements are.
- c) Lifestyle screening and advice for health risks, including the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guideline treatment options for smoking, obesity, drug and alcohol use.
5. Train staff in quality improvement methodology and structure evaluation processes.
6. Optimised prescribing that includes awareness of medication side effects, monitoring to reduce the impact/risk of side effects, and advice on safe use to ensure service user/carer involvement in medication decisions.
Tools to help you
- Health Education England’s Train the Trainer Toolkit: for a sustainable method of primary care mental health education.
- Parity in Progress? The All Party Parliamentary Group on Mental Health’s inquiry into parity of esteem for mental health. The All Party Parliamentary Group on Mental Health conducted an inquiry into parity of esteem for mental health, and one of the areas they felt that there was greatest disparity between mental health and physical is in the SMI mortality gap.