People with severe mental illness have poorer physical health outcomes. Compared to the general population, they are more likely to develop preventable physical illnesses like diabetes and heart disease, contributing to a significantly lower life expectancy. Some evidence suggests that Black African and Caribbean people are at greater risk of having a severe mental illness and they can also be at higher risk of certain physical health conditions.

The Race Equality Foundation has been working with voluntary and community organisations to look at whether Black African and Caribbean people with severe mental illness know about and use the physical health checks for people with severe mental illness provided by the NHS. With these organisations, and the people who use their services, we have developed a set of culturally appropriate resources that explain the value of people with severe mental illness from Black African and Caribbean communities attending physical health checks and how this can prevent poorer physical health. The resources can be accessed here.

The resources have been designed to support NHS England’s Core20PLUS5 strategic approach to tackle healthcare inequalities, as well as the recently launched guidance for integrated care systems on improving the physical health of people with severe mental illness. These materials have also helped us to create and pilot an educational programme to encourage voluntary health organisations to promote physical health check-ups. Further materials can be found on Future NHS: Get your Physical Health Check leaflet and the physical health checks video recording.

Our resources will be launched at a webinar on Tuesday 12th March 2024, by Professor Bola Owolabi, Director, National Healthcare Inequalities Improvement Programme, NHSE.

We will also hear from:

  • Gambinga Gambinga – lived experience and Equality Officer – Race and Mental Health, Sheffield African Caribbean Mental Health Association
  • Leila Reyburn – Programme Manager, Adult Mental Health Programme, NHS England
  • Ranjit Senghera-Marwaha – Senior Healthcare Inequalities Improvement Policy Delivery Lead, NHS England
  • Rebecca Gardner – Youth Services Manager/Carers Coordinator, Sandwell African Caribbean Mental Health Foundation

Chair: Jabeer Butt, Chief Executive, Race Equality Foundation

Time: 2pm – 3pm