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Keywords:

  • metabolic syndrome;
  • physical health;
  • severe mental illness;
  • screening

ABSTRACT

The high prevalence of metabolic syndrome (MetS) in people with a mental illness has been reported recently in the literature. Gaps have emerged in the widespread use of systematic screening methods that identify this collection of critical risk factors for cardiac and metabolic disorders in people with severe mental illness. A sample (n = 103) of consumers with severe mental illness was screened for MetS using the Metabolic Syndrome Screening Tool and compared to a sample (n = 72) of consumers who were not receiving a systematic approach to screening for MetS. The results demonstrated ad hoc screening of consumers for MetS in the comparison group, potentially leaving patients at risk of cardiac and metabolic disorders being untreated. Mental health nurses are well placed to show leadership in the screening, treatment, and ongoing management of MetS in people with severe mental illness. A potential new speciality role entitled the ‘cardiometabolic mental health nurse’ is proposed as a means leading to improved outcomes for consumers who have both the complication of physical health problems and a severe mental illness.