Visit our dedicated Let’s Get Physical website for key tips on how to improve your physical health.
Watch our Hafal TV report below on the relationship between physical and mental health.
“When I was ill it was difficult for me to look after my physical wellbeing. One of the most important parts of my recovery was learning how to stay physically healthy, including eating a healthy diet and exercising. Now that I’m physically healthy, my mental health is much better.” Mair Elliott
For many people the long-term goal will be to be fully fit and healthy, to be physically active, to have a good diet, to avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, and to have control of body weight.
- 1. What do you want to achieve?
- It is important not to neglect your physical health when you are receiving care and treatment for a mental illness. Maintaining and improving your physical health is an essential part of your recovery and can also counter the side-effects of antipsychotic medication (such as weight gain, increased risk of diabetes and heart problems).Your specific outcomes may be to have an improved diet, give up smoking, exercise regularly and reduce your alcohol consumption or use of illegal drugs. If you are very ill there may be some basic issues to address such as keeping clean, eating properly and generally taking proper care of yourself. Also think about goals which will minimise the impact of physical issues such as disability, mobility and pain management on your mental health.
2. What actions need to be taken or services need to be provided to achieve your goals?
Next think about the actions that need to be taken to achieve your goals, and what services need to be provided to support you.
Services could include:
● Advice and treatment from your GP/Practice Nurse
● Well-woman or well man clinics at your local surgery
● Support services for giving up smoking, reducing alcohol intake, etc.
● Dental/optical check-ups.
Actions could include:
● Registering with a GP
● Preparing for your GP appointment by making a list of the things you want to discuss such
as stopping smoking, exercise and the management of physical conditions
● Getting advice and information on healthy living
● Writing an exercise and diet plan
● Taking steps to improve your personal care by eating and washing regularly, etc.
● Joining a local gym
● Joining a stop-smoking support group
● Registering and making an appointment with a dentist/ optician
● Getting support to reduce your alcohol/drugs intake
● Getting advice on sexual health
● Discussing the physical side-effects of anti-psychotic medication with your GP.
3. Who can support you to achieve your goals?
Your GP and Practice Nurse are the main health professionals who can support you in achieving your personal care and physical wellbeing outcomes.
Other supporters may include:
● NHS Direct
● Alcohol and drug (substance misuse) services
● Stop Smoking Wales
● Health promotion service
● Gym instructor
● A family member and/or other carer
● Care Coordinator
More resources and links on Personal Care and Physical Wellbeing
● To register with a GP go directly to the surgery and they will assist you
● If you want to find out what surgeries are available in your area use the search facility on this link http://www.wales.nhs.uk/ourservices/directory
● To find a dentist use the same search facility as for a GP – http://www.wales.nhs.uk/ourservices/directory
● You may have difficulty finding an NHS dentist – ask for help from your local NHS Board using the same link
● Use the same link http://www.wales.nhs.uk/ourservices/directory to find opticians – note that you can get free eye tests in some places for example Tesco
● Stop smoking resources at http://www.stopsmokingwales.com/home
● Advice on alcohol http://www.drinkwisewales.org.uk/ and at http://www.alcoholconcern.org.uk
● Advice on drugs at http://www.drugaidcymru.com/ and at http://drugscope.org.uk/
Download Hafal’s Recovery Guide (PDF)