A new collaborative to support the physical health of people with a mental illness

The facts

  • The life expectancy of someone living with schizophrenia in the UK is some 15-20 years shorter than someone without a mental illness: it is equivalent to the average life expectancy in the UK in the 1950s.
  • Premature mortality among people with a mental illness is predominantly caused by poor physical health: by conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

The solutions

In October 2016, the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges published a landmark report setting out the changes that were needed to make a sustained impact on the physical health of people living with a mental illness.

It showed that this really is everyone’s business: from mental health services to primary care, hospital and community services, local authorities, charities, research bodies and many more.

The report identified much in the way of good practice in local areas across the UK and a widespread willingness to make a change. But it said a coordinated national effort would be needed to bring good practice to scale and support further innovation and improvement across the country. Read the report here.

Equally Well

Equally Well is an initiative from New Zealand which seeks to promote and support collaborative action to improve physical health among people with a mental illness. More than 100 organisations have come together to do their part to address this health inequality and to share intelligence and ideas. Visit their website.

All aspects of Equally Well are co-produced between people with personal experience and health professionals.

An Equally Well collaborative is now forming in Australia, using a similar approach to the New Zealand model.

Equally Well in the UK

Centre for Mental Health, Kaleidoscope and Rethink Mental Illness are working together with support from the Royal College of GPs and the Royal College of Psychiatrists to create an Equally Well collaborative here in the UK.

We want to bring together health and care providers, commissioners, professional bodies, service user and carer organisations, charities and many more, working nationally or locally, to form a collaborative in the UK to bring about equal physical health for people with a mental illness.

We plan in our first year to:

  • Co-produce a Charter for Equal Health, setting out the shared principles, aims and objectives of Equally Well in the UK
  • Develop a web resource to provide up-to-date information, briefings and case studies
  • Bring together organisations that become part of Equally Well for a national event to share good practice and agree priorities for the future

Join us: pledge your organisation’s support and be part of this ground-breaking initiative. Contact Andy to find out more and pledge your support at [email protected]


Equally Well Webinar, 19 October 2017

If you're interested in the work of Equally Well:




Cover image: Marta Esteban Fernando, Unsplash