Supporting patients with serious mental illness during physical health treatment
Intended for healthcare professionals
Evidence and practice    

Supporting patients with serious mental illness during physical health treatment

Lauren Chuttoo Assistant psychologist, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, London, England
Vijay Chuttoo Nurse consultant in patient safety (restrictive interventions), Springfield University Hospital, South West London and St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust, London, England

Why you should read this article
  • To recognise the disparity in health outcomes for people with serious mental illness (SMI) compared with the general population

  • To understand how you can effectively support people with SMI and reduce potential barriers for these individuals when accessing and receiving treatment from general healthcare services

  • To remain aware of the reciprocal relationship between physical health and mental health, and the relevance of both when treating an individual

People with serious mental illness (SMI) are more likely to experience severe health conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease and stroke, and are likely to die earlier, than the general population. This article explores the reasons for such disparities, using a case study approach to outline the ways that general nurses can support people with SMI when they access general healthcare services. It identifies five areas of learning from the case study: diagnostic overshadowing and stigma; developing the therapeutic relationship; the ward environment; inclusion of family members and carers; and integration of physical and mental health services.

Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2019.e11331

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software


Conflict of interest

None declared

Chuttoo L, Chuttoo V (2019) Supporting patients with serious mental illness during physical health treatment. Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2019.e11331


The authors would like to thank the subject of the case study for sharing their experience

Published online: 18 March 2019

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