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Improving quality of life in adults with severe mental ill-health

Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) Effective Treatments and Therapies grant

Some of The ALIVE National Centre Team have been awarded the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) Effective Treatments and Therapies grant for the project: Improving the quality of life of people with severe mental illness. Building on extensive community implementation with PCYC Queensland, this project will investigate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of exercise programs for improving quality of life outcomes in people with long term mental health challenges. The project involves working relationships and partnerships with PCYC Queensland, Communify Queensland, Stride, Neami National, Richmond Fellowship Queensland, Metro North Mental Health Service, Metro South Addictions and Mental Health Service, and Psychosis Australia.

Australian policies firmly articulate the health inequality faced by people with SEVERE MENTAL ILLNESS (SMI) and national priority for action. People with SMI have low quality of life, and 2-3 times higher rates of cardiometabolic disease than the general population. Sedentary lifestyle compounded by medication side-effects contributes to this health gap. Routine mental health care is suboptimal for addressing lifestyle factors related to quality of life and physical morbidity in people with SMI: mental health clinicians self-report low capability in addressing lifestyle factors with patients. Improving workforce capability may improve quality of care in this area; however, it is unknown whether this will effectively quality of life in patients if not accompanied with an increase in workforce capacity.

Exercise intervention can improve quality of life in people with SMI; however, exercise intervention is not included in routine mental health care, severely limiting access for people with SMI. Increasing workforce capacity by integrating an exercise service within mental health teams may be effective; however, because we lack robust implementation studies of such models, it is unknown whether this increased capacity will result in sufficient health gains to justify continued economic investment.

This project will develop guidelines for implementing evidence-based exercise therapy within mental health settings, and generate vital evidence on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of workforce capability and capacity building approaches. As a national and international priority, and to facilitate uptake of a recent recommendation from the Parliamentary Inquiry into Mental Health (recommending exercise be embedded in mental health), this study will address the question: How much additional benefit does an integrated exercise service add to quality-enhanced usual care for improving health outcomes in people with SMI?

The research team for this project are:

CI-A Justin Chapman – Griffith University
CI-B Amanda Wheeler – Griffith University
CI-C Dan Siskind – University of Queensland
CI-D Alison Yung – Deakin University
CI-E Yong Yi Lee – Monash University
CI-F Urska Arnautovska – University of Queensland
CI-G James Scott – QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute
CI-H Kylie Burke – Metro North Health
CI-I Eva Malacova – QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute
CI-J Nicole Korman – Metro South Health
CI-K Marianne Wyder – Metro South Health
AI-A Geoffrey Lau – Metro South Addictions and Mental Health Service
AI-B Gregory Pratt – QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute
AI-C Simon Rosenbaum – University of New South Wales
AI-D Jackie Curtis – University of New South Wales
AI-E Mary Lou Chatterton – Monash University
AI-F Lisa Simmons – James Cook University

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