CMHA Toronto believes that good physical health is essential to the overall health and well-being of our clients. We cannot fully address their mental health issues without also looking at their physical health and well-being.
Research indicates that people living with serious mental illness are at higher risk for stroke and heart disease; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); breast, colon and lung cancer; and diabetes. Taken together, these conditions occur two to four times more frequently among people with serious mental illness than in the general population. When we surveyed our clients we learned that:
- 55% of our clients had a known chronic disease;
- 63% reported that their chronic diseases were not being well managed by their primary health care physician;
- the average age of deceased clients was 48.7 years, which is 25 years younger than in the general population.
To address these issues, we introduced our Primary Health Care/Chronic Disease Management Initiative, which includes our Concurrent Disorders Program and our Telemedicine Services. We will also be examining the social determinants of health through our Health Equity Strategy.