SMI and Physical Health Conditions: lived experiences and service responses

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Despite significant shifts at legislative, policy and service provision level, people with severe mental illness (SMI) still experience higher rates of physical illness than the general population. This study explored the extent to which healthcare services understand the implications of living with SMI and physical health conditions and examined approaches used to improve the integration or coordination of care.

A scoping review of the literature showed consumers face multiple challenges (i.e., stigma, not being understood, lack of holistic care) with significant deterrents and barriers to care. Interviews (online/phone; n=23) were conducted between March-September 2023 with a purposive sample. Grounded theory analysis of interview data identified that despite the complexity associated with living with SMI and physical health conditions, consumers were resilient in the face of these challenges. Supportive relationships and self-management strategies were integral in generating resilience and buffering against gaps in healthcare provision.

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