Mental Health Disorders and Chronic Physical Illness
People who have been diagnosed with depression, for example, are at an increased risk of developing heart disease, diabetes and chronic bronchitis. A person with schizophrenia is at a greater risk of becoming obese and developing diabetes and osteoporosis.
This Course examines why mental health disorders can be associated with both the onset and maintenance of chronic physical conditions.
- What is the reciprocal relationship between mental health disorders and chronic physical illness?
- How to provide holistic physical and mental health care
- Preventing poor health outcomes
It is widely known that a person who has been diagnosed with a chronic disease is at a greater risk of developing a mental health disorder, such as depression or anxiety disorder. What is perhaps less well known is the reverse, that is, that mental health disorders can be associated with both the onset and maintenance of a chronic physical condition.
Health professionals must understand why this is the case and be alert to the increased likelihood of comorbid chronic physical disorders in people diagnosed with mental health disorders. This understanding is fundamental to providing holistic care when caring for those with both a mental health disorder and a physical illness.
The purpose of this Course is to enhance understanding of the reciprocal relationship between mental health disorders and chronic physical illness.
- Describe the reciprocal relationship between mental health disorders and chronic physical illness
- List examples of chronic physical illness that are associated with mental health disorders
- Identify how physical illness can be prevented or minimised in those individuals suffering from mental health disorders
This Course is relevant to registered nurses and other health professionals caring for people with a mental health disorder and a chronic physical illness.
No conflict of interest exists for anyone in the position to control content for this activity. Wherever possible, generic or non-proprietary names of medications or products have been used.
Dr Karen-Ann Clarke is a registered nurse and a specialised mental health nurse with 30 years’ experience of working with individuals and families impacted by the experience of mental illness. Using a feminist narrative methodology, her PhD research explored the way that women diagnosed with depression made decisions and meanings about receiving electroconvulsive therapy. As a lecturer in nursing at USC, Karen-Ann is responsible for the coordination of mental health curricula across multiple undergraduate and postgraduate programs. Teaching in excess of 900 undergraduate students each year, she is passionate about the value that immersive mental health simulation can bring to student’s learning and clinical skills and the way that it can safely bring to life theoretical concepts related to mental healthcare. Karen-Ann currently supervises a number of honours, masters and PhD students and is part of numerous research projects, involving visualisation and simulation, mental illness, suicide prevention and the inclusion of people with lived experience of mental illness into the teaching and learning space. See Educator Profile