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Screen mentally ill for chronic diseases: psychiatrists

All mental health professionals should prioritise screening and treatment for common chronic conditions in people with serious mental illness, leading psychiatrists have said.

Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) president Dr Murray Patton said: “It’s too easy for busy health professionals, including psychiatrists, to think ‘someone else will pick that up', but the evidence shows us that often doesn’t happen and patients suffer terrible outcomes because of this.”

The college gathered international and Australian research for a new report, Keeping body and mind together: Improving the physical health and life expectancy of people with serious mental illness, which showed people with serious mental illness live an average of 10–32 fewer years than people in the general community.

The college held that recent Australian data has shown the years lost are mainly due to conditions that are successfully treated in the rest of the community.

Click below to hear more about the report and the issue of under-screening from Murray Patton.

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