The physical health of people with mental health conditions and / or addiction - Evidence update: December 2017 Te Pou is pleased to launch:

It is three years since the Equally Well collaborative was launched at a national summit.

Over 100 leaders from the health sector gathered to hear presentations on the extent of the disparities in physical health status among people with mental health conditions and/or addiction, what was contributing to it, and most importantly what we could all do to address this.  

The first Te Pou evidence review pulled all this information together and was also used to develop the Equally Well consensus position paper. The position paper advocated for improvements and has now been used to inform the development of key actions around the country, and overseas. Over 100 organisations in New Zealand have since signed up to the consensus position paper– including most of the DHBs, PHOs, NGOs, and professional colleges.

As a result, one by one, dozens of activities from policy formation through to funding decisions to the creation of new roles, are changing our approach.  

Recognising the importance of continuing to support the actions of the collaborative, Te Pou is pleased to launch the 2017 Evidence Update. Wishing to understand what research has been published since 2013, this update has more of a focus on the available evidence to inform what to do about the inequities than its predecessor. 

We also wanted to know how the recent evidence advances our understanding of higher rates of premature mortality and its causes. And what does a more in-depth investigation of the literature on psychotropic medications tell us about their impact on physical health?

It’s a large report over 100 pages long. It’s taken a year to research and write. However, a 20-page executive summary is also downloadable below. The evidence update validates the messages and recommendations from the 2014 Te Pou evidence review. At the same time, it provides more detail about the types of initiatives at the systems, health services, and individual levels, which together will support better physical health. It also contains findings from qualitative studies which share the experiences of mental health and addiction consumers. This makes very important and compelling reading and needs to inform the actions that we continue to take.

At a systems level, people with experience of mental health conditions and/or addiction need to be visible as a priority group in national and regional policies impacting on health outcomes, and key indicators of excess mortality for people need to be routinely monitored. 

Drawing the evidence together in this update is only the first step of this second evidence review. 

The first evidence review stimulated a whole movement of change. How can we use this second one to sustain this change, and reduce this unacceptable and long-standing health disparity? 

We now invite the Equally Well collaborative to dive into this Evidence Update and develop what you feel are the key messages that help inform action in your sphere of influence.