Mental Health Disorders and Chronic Physical Illness

1h 15m of CPD
Karen-Ann Clarke
16 Nov 2017

This Course examines why mental health disorders can be associated with both the onset and maintenance of chronic physical conditions.


Describe the reciprocal relationship between mental health disorders and chronic physical illness


List examples of chronic physical illness that are associated with mental health disorders


Identify how physical illness can be prevented or minimised in those individuals suffering from mental health disorders


Karen-Ann Clarke

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.


Dada Makwe16 Sep 2018
This topic increases my knowledge in linking physical health with Mental health issues, as well as how to conduct appropriate assessment for further treatment provision.

Jeffrey lapera13 Aug 2018
Great video. Informative and simple

Daryl Stuart01 Jul 2018
A worthwhile, practical and informative learning opportunity.

carin newman20 Jun 2018

Avelina Go Chow19 Jun 2018
VLA is very informative and relevant to our practices as a nurse

Sarah J Finlayson29 May 2018
Brilliant learning activity. The course material was relevant, easy to follow & well presented. I would recommend this activity to all nurses

Helen Bourke29 May 2018
Excellent presentation. Concise and precise.

Deborah French29 May 2018
Excellent presentation

tracey lackmann26 May 2018
Educator was clear and concise Informative and important topic

John Cazaly23 May 2018
Very Good

Jo Teague19 May 2018
good to know and review

Jane Smith10 May 2018
This educator is excellent. Very engaging, knowledgeable and really knows how to teach.

Ellie Alizadeh09 May 2018

Lisa-Jane Robertson08 May 2018
Excellent presenter and content was well explained and relevant

Anu Sudhakaran Nair 05 May 2018
Simple and powerful learning material

Gurnam Singh Saini02 May 2018
well said

Susan Cynthia Barnes01 May 2018

Gemma Dale29 Apr 2018
Was very detailed and in depth on the topic including lots of evidence and recent data on current populations

Rijo George24 Apr 2018
The topic was very informative.


Divina Evangelista17 Apr 2018
The educator was engaging and knowledgeable about the topic. I will surely recommend this education to other health professionals.

Cindy Barkhuizen10 Apr 2018

Susan Lanyon28 Mar 2018

Rosy Khadka Chhetri09 Mar 2018
excellent and very knowledgeable

Michele Selby05 Mar 2018
Well presented and informative.

Timothy Kent19 Feb 2018
Excellent evidenced based presentation of the topic concerned

Monica Burrows31 Jan 2018
Very informative information and relevant to the environment I work in Thanking you for this info it great to have a refresher in this area

Norest Mashonganyika23 Dec 2017
very informative and well presented presentation

Sue petitt02 Dec 2017
Very informative educator spoke well was very clear and kept me engaged and has help me gain a better insight in to mental illness

Course Overview

Topics include:

  • Co-morbidities of physical and mental health
  • The Mental State Assessment
  • Preventing poor health outcomes

Target audience

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.

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