Mental Health Consumer Experiences and Strategies When Seeking Physical Health Care

A Focus Group Study

Stephanie B. Ewart, Julia Bocking, Brenda Happell, Chris Platania-Phung, Robert Stanton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)
15 Downloads (Pure)


People with mental illness have higher rates of physical health problems and consequently live significantly shorter lives. This issue is not yet viewed as a national health priority and research about mental health consumer views on accessing physical health care is lacking. The aim of this study is to explore the experience of mental health consumers in utilizing health services for physical health needs. Qualitative exploratory design was utilized. Semistructured focus groups were held with 31 consumer participants. Thematic analysis revealed that three main themes emerged: scarcity of physical health care, with problems accessing diagnosis, advice or treatment for physical health problems; disempowerment due to scarcity of physical health care; and tenuous empowerment describing survival resistance strategies utilized. Mental health consumers were concerned about physical health and the nonresponsive health system. A specialist physical health nurse consultant within mental health services should potentially redress this gap in health care provision.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalGlobal Qualitative Nursing Research
Publication statusPublished - 29 Feb 2016


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