Holistic care for mental health clients

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The Multidisciplinary Metabolic Clinic from left: Lisa Mercer (Senior Dietitian), Dr Santosh Chaubey (Endocrinologist), Dr Mridula Kayal (Snr Psychiatrist and Project Lead), Aneesh James (Mental Health Nurse), Nicky Roberts (Smoking Cessation Consultant), Matthew Werner (Exercise Physiologist).

Meet the team that is turning people’s lives around with their holistic approach to mental and physical wellbeing.

The Multidisciplinary Metabolic Clinic is a gold standard model of care that is supporting patients with serious mental illness to get more motivated, fitter and healthier.

‘Physical and mental health issues go hand in hand,’ said Endocrinologist Dr Santosh Chaubey.

‘Usually, mental health care and physical health care are provided by different professional streams and sometimes one issue takes precedence over another.

‘This can lead to misalignment in health care.

‘To navigate this, Cairns Hospital took an initiative which led to foundation of a new model of care.’

The clinic, which started in 2021, is the result of a successful partnership between the Cairns Hospital psychiatry and endocrine departments, and the local PCYC.

‘We are helping our clients align their mind, body and soul,’ said Dr Chaubey.

‘Clients get long-term specialist medical care and, in addition, we give them personalised and group training on diet, motivation and exercise.’

Psychiatrist and the Project Lead Dr Mridula Kayal said that feedback from patients had been very positive.

‘Our regular patients are seeing a significant improvement in their weight, cardiovascular risk factors and quality of life,’ said Dr Kayal.

‘The medication for illnesses like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder can have unwanted side effects like weight gain, which can lead to non-adherence to treatment and poor self-esteem.

‘The lack of motivation and other debilitating symptoms of illness (like depression and social anxiety) lead to poor lifestyle choices and ultimately resulting in poor physical health and a shorter life expectancy.

‘The clinic is a way for us to pool our expertise to help our most vulnerable clients overcome these challenges.’

The clinic was designed with valuable input from people with lived experience. The Queensland Health Chief Psychiatrist Office has recognised the clinic for their exemplary work.

‘We are very excited by the preliminary results and intend to publish our research within the next year,’ said Dr Kayal.