Creating a Health Care Team to Manage Chronic Medical Illnesses in Patients With Severe Mental Illness: The Public Policy Perspective




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Patients with severe mental illnesses have higher morbidity rates and shorter life spans than the general population, due in part to modifiable risk factors. Psychiatrists should understand the increased health risks that patients with severe mental illness face due to their psychiatric diagnoses, personal health behaviors, and genetic risks, and how these risks are exacerbated by a fragmented health care system. Professional societies should develop guidelines for monitoring these health risks, and accrediting bodies should monitor adherence to these guidelines. Mental health providers should help improve the integration of primary care and mental health care and implement treatment strategies for changing modifiable health risk factors in their patients with severe mental illness.

J Clin Psychiatry 2009;70(suppl 3):37-42