The term 'severe and persistent mental illnesses’ can refer to disorders such as schizophrenia spectrum disorders, bipolar disorder, and major depression.
Most people with these mental illnesses typically have poor physical health and high rates of comorbid health conditions (such as respiratory and cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity). For example, they are two to three times more likely to have cardiovascular disease, have higher prevalence of metabolic syndrome, and have an estimated 15 to 25 year shorter life expectancy compared with the general population.
Physiotherapists are well trained in managing the musculoskeletal and cardiorespiratory conditions that are common among people with severe and persistent mental illness. Despite this, there is evidence that people with these metnal illnesses are not accessing or utilising physiotherapy services for management of their physical health problems.