Back to basics: informing the public of co-morbid physical health problems in those with mental illness

Ahire, Mrinalini, Sheridan, Judith, Regbetz, Shane, Stacey, Phillip and Scott, James G. (2013) Back to basics: informing the public of co-morbid physical health problems in those with mental illness. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 47 2: 177-184. doi:10.1177/0004867412450753

Author Ahire, Mrinalini
Sheridan, Judith
Regbetz, Shane
Stacey, Phillip
Scott, James G.
Title Back to basics: informing the public of co-morbid physical health problems in those with mental illness
Journal name Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0004-8674
Publication date 2013-02-01
Year available 2012
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1177/0004867412450753
Volume 47
Issue 2
Start page 177
End page 184
Total pages 8
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher Sage Publications
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Those with mental illness are at increased risk of physical health problems. The current study aimed to examine the information available online to the Australian public about the increased risk and consequences of physical illness in those with mental health problems and the services available to address these co-morbidities.
A structured online search was conducted with the search engine Google Australia ( using generic search terms ‘mental health information Australia’, ‘mental illness information Australia’, ‘depression’, ‘anxiety’, and ‘psychosis’. The direct content of websites was examined for information on the physical co-morbidities of mental illness. All external links on high-profile websites [the first five websites retrieved under each search term (n = 25)] were examined for information pertaining to physical health.
Only 4.2% of websites informing the public about mental health contained direct content information about the increased risk of physical co-morbidities. The Australian Government’s Department of Health and Ageing site did not contain any information. Of the high-profile websites, 62% had external links to resources about physical health and 55% had recommendations or resources for physical health. Most recommendations were generic.
Relative to the seriousness of this problem, there is a paucity of information available to the public about the increased physical health risks associated with mental illness. Improved public awareness is the starting point of addressing this health inequity.
Keyword Mental health
Mental illness
Physical co-morbidity
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Published online before print June 15, 2012

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: UQ Centre for Clinical Research Publications
Official 2013 Collection
School of Medicine Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 4 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 4 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Wed, 20 Jun 2012, 23:55:34 EST by James Scott on behalf of Psychiatry - Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital