24 Sep 2019
The BDA this week joined Equally Well, an alliance that seeks to promote and support collaborative action to improve physical health among people with a mental illness. Our Board of Directors have signed the Charter for Equal Health, which underlines our belief that everyone has an equal right to good health and effective healthcare.
Sadly, people with mental health conditions have, on average, worse physical health outcomes than the population as a whole. For example, the life expectancy of someone living with schizophrenia in the UK is some 15-20 years shorter than someone without a mental illness.
The BDA has pledged to educate all our members about the importance of inclusion for those with a diagnosis of mental illness. We are committed to providing support to dietitians and other healthcare professionals in recognising the important role good nutrition and hydration can play as a foundation to good physical health for all.
Alison Jowett, Chair of BDA Mental Health Specialist Group said "We are delighted to sign up to the Equally Well UK Charter, affirming our commitment to ensure good physical health for those with a diagnosis of mental health illness. We know that people with a diagnosis mental health illness are more likely to have poor diets, for a variety of complex reasons. Some mental health conditions are directly linked to diet and nutrition, such as eating disorders, whilst for others, medications or symptoms of their illness may contribute to poor nutritional health.
"Dietitians have an important role in offering people tailored support to help them be both mentally and physically well. We recognise the need for all dietitians, not just those specialising in mental health, to understand these links and to ensure they are inclusive and unbiased in their treatment of all patients."
Find our more about Equally Well here: https://equallywell.co.uk/member/bda/