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March 2021

eLearning aims to improve physical health in people with severe mental illness

Mental health charity Charlie Waller, NHS England and Health Education England have joined forces to improve physical health of people with severe mental illness (SMI).

A new online training film has been developed to provide guidance to primary care professionals on how to reduce the risk of people with SMI dying prematurely from preventable physical conditions.

The film, based on training endorsed by the Royal College of Nursing, outlines best practice during annual physical health checks for people with SMI and on how to provide ongoing support.

The training film covers:

  • How a person is affected by severe mental illness
  • The physical health issues in severe mental illness
  • Making appointments accessible
  • Monitoring physical health in severe mental illness

This project has been developed by NHS England and NHS Improvement – South East, Health Education England in partnership with the Charlie Waller Trust.

Dr Sheila Hardy, practice nurse lead at the Charlie Waller Trust, said: ‘It is incredibly sad that every year many people with severe mental illness are dying from preventable physical illnesses.

‘We hope that this online training will enable healthcare professionals to access the information they need to provide ongoing support to those individuals who need it, and in turn reduce preventable illnesses and deaths.’

You can watch the training film at

An accompanying handout and facilitator notes are also available to download.

Practice Nurse 2021;51(2):online only