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The physical health of tangata whaiora/ mental health service users

Thursday 23 February 2017

Do you want to understand the research evidence about the physical health inequalities associated with experience of mental illness?
Would you like to be up to date with the latest evidence about what works to reduce these inequalities?
Would you like to have the opportunity to talk to researchers working in this area and influence future research directions?

This course will provide an overview of local and international research on the physical health of people with experience of mental illness, in particular those who are in contact with secondary mental health services. We will explore the latest research on the causes of these inequalities and how they can be addressed. We will hear from people with lived experience of mental illness and clinicians in the mental health and primary care sectors.

Topics covered  

  1.  Applying a population approach to the study of mental illness
  2.  The epidemiology of physical health among people with experience of mental illness
  3.  The physical health effects of psychiatric medications
  4.  The relationship between smoking and mental illness and what this means for public health approaches
  5.  The impact of stigma and discrimination on health
  6.  The physical health of Maori using mental health services
  7.  Interventions to improve physical health outcomes for people with experience of mental illness
  8.  The use of evaluation methods in generating evidence of what works
  9.  The roles of mental health services and primary care

Style of course

This will be a symposium style course, with a range of speakers from across the mental health and public health fields, including academics, clinicians, and people with lived experience. There will be an emphasis on providing opportunities for discussion and identification of future priorities for research, policy and practice in this area.

Who should attend?  

This course will be useful for people working in mental health services as well as policy makers, researchers and others with an interest in this area.
By the end of this course participants should have the knowledge/skills to:
• understand more about the physical health inequalities experienced by people with experience of mental illness and the causes of these inequalities
• be up to date with current evidence about what works to reduce these inequalities and improve physical health
• be able to translate the evidence into their practice
• be informed about research in this area and confident about contributing to developing research priorities and contributing to the evidence base

Draft timetable

Time Session Presenter(s)
8:30am Registration
9am Introduction and Welcome
What do we know about the physical health of people with experience of mental illness?
- Public health and epidemiology
- lived experience
- Māori using mental health services
- mental illness managed in primary care
Helen Lockett

Ruth Cunningham, Caro Swanson, Tony Dowell, others TBC

10:30am Morning tea
11am Using research to understand the causes of health inequalities
- the social determinants of health
- psychiatric medications
- stigma and discrimination
- tobacco use
- the role of health services
Susanna Every-Palmer, Debbie Peterson, Stella Vickers, Ruth Cunningham, others TBC
12:30pm Lunch break
1:30pm Using research to reduce inequalities
- Current evidence and best practice
- Role of mental health services and primary care
- Reducing stigma and in health services
- Equally Well and local initiatives
Tony O’Brien, Tony Dowell, Sarah Gordon, Helen Lockett
3pm Afternoon tea
3:30pm Where to next
- Generating evidence through evaluation
- Translating evidence into practice
- Future research needs
Discussion and wrap up
All speakers
5pm Finish

Teaching staff  

Dr Ruth Cunningham is an epidemiologist and public health physician in the Department of Public Health at the University of Otago, Wellington. She is medically trained and has a background in health services and inequalities research. Currently her main area of research is the physical health of people with experience of mental illness in New Zealand.

Dr Debbie Peterson is a Research Fellow in the Suicide Prevention Research Group at the University of Otago Wellington. Her research focus is issues affecting people with experience of mental illness including stigma and discrimination, consumer involvement, and quality of services. Her own experience of mental illness informs her research practice.

Dr Susanna Every-Palmer is a consultant psychiatrist, Clinical Director of the Central Regional Forensic Service and a lecturer in Psychological Medicine at the University of Otago Wellington. She has a Masters from Oxford University and is currently completing a PhD related to the effects of anti-psychotic medication.

Dr Anthony O’Brien is a Senior Lecturer at the School of Nursing at the University of Auckland and a Nurse Specialist in Liaison Psychiatry. He has research and teaching interests in standards of practice and ethical issues in mental health care.

Stella Vickers is a PhD candidate in the Department of Public Health, whose PhD thesis is examining the experience of tobacco use for tangata whaiora using qualitative methods. She has also worked on applied research and evaluation projects for more than 10 years; this has included several projects about reducing the harm caused by tobacco smoking.

Professor Tony Dowell is Professor of Primary Health Care and Deputy Dean at the University of Otago, Wellington, and a practicing General Practitioner at the Island Bay Medical Centre. His current academic interests include research in mental health care, health services research and communication in health care consultation settings.

Carolyn Swanson is service user lead at Te Pou o te Whakaaro Nui, providing a service user perspective and lens, especially on service user inclusion, participation, leadership and workforce development. The driving force for her work is her own life-long resilience journey involving mental illness and navigating mental health services.

Helen Lockett is an experienced director and researcher working in the mental healthcare sector and is strategic policy advisor for the Wise Group. Her work focuses on using evidence to inform and influence practice and policy change in order to improve outcomes for individuals and whanau and reduce inequities. Helen has a strategic leadership role in the Equally Well collaborative. Helen will be chairing the symposium.

Other speakers to be confirmed.

Course cost and registration/ Other events

$300 early bird, $400 after 21 December 2016.

A 50% discount is available to full-time students, those unwaged and University of Otago staff.

Register now

A limited number of scholarships covering course costs are available for people with lived experience of mental illness to attend this course, thanks to sponsorship from Te Pou o te Whakaaro nui. Please contact Ruth Cunningham to enquire about these.

Other events
A one day practical workshop on conducting evaluation of Equally Well initiatives will be held on Friday the 24th of February from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm at the University of Otago Wellington campus. This will be open to all those who have registered for this summer school day, and will be free of charge thanks to sponsorship from Te Pou o te Whakaaro nui. There are also some places available for other Equally Well members – please contact Ruth.Cunningham@otago.ac.nz for more information.