Mental Health Disorders and Chronic Physical Illness
This Course examines why mental health disorders can be associated with both the onset and maintenance of chronic physical conditions.
DescribeDescribe the reciprocal relationship between mental health disorders and chronic physical illness
ListList examples of chronic physical illness that are associated with mental health disorders
IdentifyIdentify how physical illness can be prevented or minimised in those individuals suffering from mental health disorders
Dr Karen-Ann Clarke is a Registered Nurse and a specialised mental health nurse, with 30 years’ experience of working with individuals and families impacted by the experiences of mental illness. Using a feminist narrative methodology, her PhD research explored the way in which women diagnosed with depression made decisions and meanings about receiving electroconvulsive therapy. As a lecturer in nursing at USC, Dr Clarke is responsible for the coordination of mental health curricula across multiple undergraduate and post-graduate programs. Teaching in excess of 900 undergraduate students each year, she is passionate about the value that immersive mental health simulation can bring to student’s learning and clinical skills, and the way that it can safely bring to life theoretical concepts related to mental health care. Dr Clarke currently supervises a number of honours, masters, and PhD students and is part of numerous research projects involving visualisation and simulation, mental illness, suicide prevention and the inclusion of people with lived experience of mental illness into the teaching and learning space.
- Co-morbidities of physical and mental health
- The Mental State Assessment
- Preventing poor health outcomes
Health professionals caring for people with a mental health disorder and a chronic physical illness.
Enhance understanding of the reciprocal relationship between mental health disorders and chronic physical illness.
It is widely known that a person who has been diagnosed with a chronic disease is at a greater risk of developing a mental health disorder, such as depression or anxiety disorder. What is perhaps less well known is the reverse, that is, that mental health disorders can be associated with both the onset, and maintenance of a chronic physical condition. People who have been diagnosed with depression, for example, are at an increased risk of developing heart disease, diabetes and chronic broncholitis. A person with schizophrenia is at a greater risk of becoming obese and developing diabetes and osteoporosis. Health professionals must understand why this is the case and be alert to the increased likelihood of comorbid chronic physical disorders in people diagnosed with mental health disorders. This understanding is fundamental to providing holistic care when caring for those with both a mental health disorder and a physical illness.
Health professionals in Australia that are registered with AHPRA are required to obtain continuing professional development (CPD) hours/points each year that relates to their context of practice, in order to comply with mandatory regulatory requirements.