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how PHysical ILlness is diagnosed in people with a Mental health diagnosis

Project overview

This study, led by researchers at The Healthcare Improvement Studies (THIS) Institute at the University of Cambridge, is about both physical and mental health.

It is interested in the diagnosis process for physical health conditions among groups of people with a mental health issue.

There can be problems of underdiagnosing physical health issues, leading to delayed access in care.

PHILM (how PHysical ILlness is diagnosed in people with a Mental health diagnosis) is grounded in a participatory ethos and will be designed and conducted collaboratively with service users and carers.

The focus is on how people with a mental health diagnosis access care when they are worried about their physical health, but will also explore the experiences of family members and clinical members of staff contributing to the diagnostic process.

It includes a systematic review, an ethnographic study in acute care settings (such as A&E), and an interview-based study of primary care patients and general practitioners.

Project details

We know that people with a mental health diagnosis have a reduced life expectancy compared to the general population. Physical illness is identified as a leading cause of excess mortality.

Missed, incorrect, or delayed diagnosis of physical illness in people with mental health issues is a particular problem and may result in lost opportunities for prevention and treatment.

It is important that we can do more to address the physical health problems of people with psychosis, depression and anxiety, and research using multi-methods can begin to surface useful recommendations for practice changes.

We are the PPI (Patient and Public Involvement) partner on the study.

We have a senior service user researcher embedded in the team, supporting protocol development, data collection, and data analysis.

Additionally, we support the Experts by Experience group, made up of service users and carers who contributed to the development of the study, will take part in data analysis, and are involved in decision making about the study through regular meetings.

Please email [email protected] for more information, and you can also visit the THIS Institute website project page to find out more.

Work with us

We are always excited to hear from others who want to collaborate on mental health research. From delivering peer research to helping you with public involvement strategies and providing training, get in touch to chat.