SMI Health checks

Published on 7 December, 2023

Working collaboratively to tackle health inequalities for people with severe mental illness

We’re serious about helping people to connect with support in their community, so we’ve been working on a pilot project with NHS Dorset to get alongside people, in this case diagnosed with serious mental health (SMI) to help them access support. We want to share a significant milestone in our ongoing efforts to address health inequalities. Recent data reveals that the life expectancy of people with an SMI diagnosis is, on average, 15–20 years shorter than that of the general population.

The good news is that attending an annual health check can make a substantial difference, preventing premature deaths from heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and diabetes. Despite this, a concerning number of people with SMI fail to attend their appointments, with only a 56.8% uptake in health checks in Dorset.

We have been working in collaboration with several GP practices across Dorset to tackle this issue, having supportive conversations with their patients diagnosed with SMI to help encourage attendance and connect them to local community services where necessary.

Our pilot program has already yielded promising results, encouraging and supporting 121 people with SMI to attend their annual health checks, who previously missed multiple appointments. This initiative has the potential to extend a cumulative total of 1,815 years of life (121 people x 15 year mortality gap), fostering the prospect of longer and healthier lives for those affected.

The pilot is scheduled to run until the end of March 2024. Which means we can continue to support individuals to attend their annual health check appointments. More information about the project can be found on or website here.