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Keywords:

  • exercise and mental health;
  • mental health promotion;
  • obesity and mental health;
  • physical and mental health

ABSTRACT:  There is growing recognition and understanding of the inextricable interrelationship between physical and mental health. In mental health care, the physical health of consumers is now acknowledged as a serious problem requiring urgent action. This issue is undoubtedly related to negative symptoms and the lifestyle of people with mental illness. Much of the burden is also clearly linked with the detrimental side effects of psychotropic medications and deficits in the knowledge, skill, and confidence of mental health clinicians in relation to physical health matters. This paper highlights the problem of physical health in mental health care and presents recommendations to address this issue. The benefits of exercise on mental health in particular are explored. The authors argue that mental health nurses must play an active role in health promotion, primary prevention, and the early detection and management of physical health problems in all areas of clinical practice.