Ask about the benefits and risks of your medication
Talk to your GP or psychiatrist about the benefits and risks of the medications you take.
Some medications have side effects, such as weight gain or making you feel unmotivated. Antipsychotics can affect blood sugar levels, cholesterol and weight.
Ask if it’s possible to change medications or adjust your dose to reduce any effects on your physical health.
Helping someone with their physical health
If you are a family member, friend or carer of someone with mental illness, there are a number of ways you can help them to improve their physical health.
Set goals together
Help the person you are looking after to choose 1-3 simple and acheiveable goals for their physical health.
- walk for 20 minutes each evening
- on Sundays, make a meal plan for the week
- drink plain water with meals.
Be a good example
As a family member or friend, your own actions can influence the person you’re looking after.
- cutting back on your own alcohol or tobacco use
- cooking healthy food together
- drawing up a shared daily timetable for shopping, cooking and eating.
Work with the health-care team
It’s important that people feel comfortable with the professionals working with them.
You can help by:
- offering to go to the doctor or health professional with them
- encouraging the person to speak openly about their own needs
- reminding the person to mention their physical health at appointments
- helping them to make a list of questions to ask
- if needed, ask about an interpreter, Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander health worker, or Māori health worker.