Do people with mental health problems miss out on essential care?
A study by researchers from John Hopkins University has found that people with conditions like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder were 2.6 times more likely to develop cancer than the rest of the population. They raised questions about whether people with serious mental illness were getting appropriate screening and preventive care related to cancer risks, such as advice on stopping smoking.
This is backed by a recent review published in Nursing Times which examined the issue of discrimination against people with mental health problems. The author found that service users encountered discrimination when accessing services such as GPs. They reported professionals as being dismissive or assuming that physical presentations were “all in the mind”. This is especially significant, as evidence suggests people with mental illness are at greater risk from physical health problems, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and respiratory disease; they also have a higher risk of premature death.