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People with a serious mental illness and their carers face many inequalities when it comes to their physical health. People with a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia or bipolar
disorder can have a life expectancy between 15 to 20 years lower than the general population (Wahlbeck et al, 2011); over 8 in 10 carers have seen a negative impact on their physical health as a result of their caring responsibilities (Carers UK, 2013).

Recent Welsh legislation and policy aims to tackle this inequality. For example, the Mental Health Measure (2010) prescribes a holistic Care and Treatment Plan for people using secondary mental health services which includes a section for setting “Personal Care and Physical Well Being” goals. “Together for Mental Health: A Strategy for Mental Health and Wellbeing in Wales” (2012) states that “People who experience mental health problems should be assisted to enjoy the same life expectancy and quality of physical health as the general population” and advocates “tackling less healthy lifestyles, smoking and poor diets, and increasing opportunities for physical exercise, including in inpatient settings”.

Using this guide

In this guide we provide a simple overview of how mental health services can support users and carers to improve their physical health. This information is based on the feedback of hundreds of service users and carers who have taken steps to improve their physical health.

You can use this guide to talk service users and carers through the various options they have when working to become more physically healthy. The information is broken down into the following sections:
• Physical activity
• Diet & nutrition
• Getting support.

Download a hard copy Let’s Get Physcial! guide here:
Let’s Get Physical guide

Download our Let’s Get Physical! 2014 campaign report:
LGP report

Download our 2015-2018 Let’s Get Physical! report:
LGP report 1