Three research teams will share in over $5.1 million in targeted funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) to investigate ways to improve the physical health of people with mental illness.
People living with mental illness, particularly severe mental illnesses, are more likely to develop physical illness and be hospitalised for potentially preventable reasons.
There is a growing need for research to inform how the physical health of people living with mental illness can be improved.
Professor Jackie Curtis of the University of New South Wales and her team will receive over $2.9 million for a co-produced Integrated Peer-Supported Physical Health Service (IPPHS) that will be designed so that no-one misses out on person-centred health care by meeting the person wherever they are at in the healthcare system.
Professor Russell Roberts and his team at Charles Sturt University will receive over $969,000 for a project that will investigate the experiences of rural people living with severe mental illness and use the findings on how they access health care to inform a co-designed model of physical health care navigation.
Dr Alyssa Milton of the University of Sydney and her collaborators will receive nearly $1.2 million to deliver a peer-supported digital app (SiMPliCITy) that promotes self-care strategies to address the physical health needs of people with schizophrenia to be used in conjunction with mental health services.
NHMRC’s Targeted Calls for Research grant scheme is designed to stimulate research or build research capacity to address a specific health issue where there is a significant knowledge gap or unmet need.
The outcomes of the research will inform the development of policies, health services and models of care that effectively manage and support people with coexisting mental and physical health conditions.
Quotes attributable to Assistant Minister, Emma McBride:
“People living with mental illness, particularly severe mental illness like schizophrenia, are more likely to live with poor physical health.
“The three projects funded today focus on co-design and peer-support models to help people living with mental illness access effective health care services to improve their physical health.”
Quotes attributable to NHRMC CEO, Professor Steve Wesselingh:
“This Targeted Call for Research aims to stimulate research that develops effective strategies to improve physical health of people living with mental illness.
“Interventions will improve the physical health of people with a severe mental illness in an integrated manner.
“The outcomes of the research will assist in the development of effective health services and policies that guide and train providers to better manage coexisting mental and physical health conditions.”