Metabolic Health - Its Not Just About Your Head

Let's work together towards a healthy mind and bodyThe Metabolic Health Initiative has been developed to help identify the physical health issues of mental health consumers through the creation of a Metabolic Health Action Plan. The plan provides agreed guidelines and referral pathways for consumers to access appropriate services. The plan also aims to have a consistent methodology of data collection and biomedical monitoring.

Metabolic Health Assessments

The initiative aims for all Mental Health patients to have a metabolic health assessment which includes:

  • biomedical measurement
  • regular monitoring
  • referral for appropriate interventions as required.

Statistics Show Poor Physical Health Outcomes for People With an Enduring Mental Illness 

Overwhelming amounts of evidence highlight the poor physical health outcomes for people with an enduring mental illness. Statistics show that the average life expectancy of someone diagnosed with a mental illness is 50 to 59 years, 20 years less than the general population average.1

The need to ensure a coordinated health care approach for consumers with a mental illness led the Mental Health Directorate (MHD) to develop the Metabolic Health Initiative and Action Plan.

  • Around 50% of people with a mental illness have metabolic syndrome.2
  • mental health services, that focus on psychiatric symptoms may overlook physical symptoms.3
  • There are many factors that contribute to the poor physical health of people with severe mental illness, including lifestyle factors and medication side effects.4


1. Professor Brenda Happell CQ University Australia, Researcher focused on increased life expectancy for those with mental illness, 07 October 2011

2. Lawrence, Coghlan Health Inequalities and the Health Needs of People with Mental Illness NSW Public Health Bulletin vol.13 No.7 155-158

3. David Lawrence1 and Stephen Kisely2 Inequalities in healthcare provision for people with severe mental illness Journal of Psychopharmacology 24 (11) Supplement 4. 61–68

4. B Lunnay, P Bywood Co-morbidity of mental and physical illness: Meeting unmet care needs  Research Round up Issue 18 August 2011

Resources for consumers

Information for patients and their carers:

Your specific requirements:

Resources for clinicians

Australian type 2 diabetes risk assessment tool (AUSDRISK) - available from the Australian Government, Department of Health and Ageing website.

Biomedical measurement - things to remember (PDF 119KB)

Biomedical Monitoring: Clinic protocol and procedure summary (PDF 42KB)

BMI chart (PDF 152KB)

Supportive biomedical monitoring table (PDF 49KB)

Metabolic health referral pathways flowchart