Men with mental health issues want good physical health too

18/06/18 . News

Secure Man is a new physical health guide for men with mental health challenges requiring hospital care.

Developed by the Men’s Health Forum in partnership with Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (BSMHFT), service-users at the Trust’s medium-secure units the Reaside Clinic and Tamarind Centre were involved at all stages of the production process. The 36-page full-colour A5 manual includes:

  • How to boost life expectancy through healthy eating and physical exercise
  • Taking care of your heart
  • Healthy eating advice and how to balance your diet
  • Physical activity and top exercise tips
  • Information about safe sex
  • Smoking cessation advice

All the tips, which were put together with the men at Reaside, are realistic and practical even for men living in institutions where healthy eating and exercise may be more difficult.

Dr Rebekah Bourne, Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist at BSMHFT, who led the development team, said: ‘Anecdotal evidence suggests that although patient’s within secure services have access to a wide range of physical health services there are sometimes areas of physical health that are not routinely addressed.  Additionally many report that they may have physical health anxieties or concerns that they are not confident to bring up with professionals, these can often for fear of being embarrassed or concerns being dismissed.  Examples of this may be sexual health matters, embarrassing symptoms, and concerns about weight gain, risks around various forms of cancer such as prostate or bowel cancer.'

The development team talked to a lot of the men under BSMHFT’s care using questionnaires and focus groups and a number of ideas came out. ’One suggestion that came out a lot,' Rebekah says, 'was that participants wished to have more information available that they could discretely look at in their own time. When we showed them some of the Men’s Health Forum’s health manuals, participants really liked the idea of this.’ Secure Man is the result.

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