A greater proportion of people with mental illness have poor physical health compared to the general population.1 They die younger2 – on average 10 to 17 years earlier than the general population.
Nurses can play a substantial role in the provision of support to patients with mental health problems. Mental health problems are one of the main causes of the overall disease burden worldwide3 and mental health campaigners have welcomed a government plan to roll back years of service cuts that have caused ‘dangerously high’ bed occupancy rates, waiting times and low staff morale.4
People with a psychotic disorder constitute 0.7 in 100 of the population, whereas those with bi-polar disease include 2 in 100 people.5 The number of patients who have mental health related issues is increasing. It is estimated that 1 in 4 people may have, at some time in their life, a mental health condition.6 Under the Equality Act 2010 health care professionals have a duty of care to all patients, including those with mental health issues.7