On World Mental Health Day, (Oct 10th), Irish College of General Practitioners calls for structured twice-yearly GP visits for people with enduring mental illness to help reduce high levels of physical illness and mortality rates.

(Embargo 7am Monday 10th October)  The Irish College of General Practitioners is the professional education and training body for GPs in Ireland, with over 3,500 practising GPs as members.

People with an enduring mental illness (EMI) have a mortality rate 2 to 3 times higher than the general population, which means a reduced life expectancy of between 13 and 30 years. It is estimated that 60% of this increase in mortality is caused by physical illness.

On this World Mental Health Day 2022 (10th October) , the ICGP calls for patients with EMI to have access to a standardised programme of twice-yearly structured visits to their GP., similar to the existing Chronic Disease Management programme.

The Assistant Medical Director of the ICGP, Dr Brian Osborne, said: These mortality rates are very high, and it is estimated that 60% of this increase in mortality is caused by physical illness. Among people with EMI  there is a higher prevalence of diabetes mellitus, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease,  respiratory disease and infectious disease. These diseases impact heavily upon the individual, with  substantial system wide direct and indirect healthcare costs.”

The HSE ICGP Clinical Lead for Mental Health, Dr Aoife O’Sullivan, said: “The “Sharing the Vision” policy recommends that the physical healthcare of patients with severe and enduring mental illness should be led by their GP. We advocate for these patients to have access to a standardised programme similar to the Chronic Disease Management programme for Diabetes, Cardiovascular, COPD and Asthma that is currently delivered in general practice.”

The World Health Organisation’s theme for this year’s World Mental Health Day is “Making Mental Health and well-being for all a global priority.”

Dr Osborne added: “The COVID-19 pandemic continues to take its toll on our mental health, and we continue to see its impact, especially amongst young people, in general practice. Our mental health services need to receive greater resources to strengthen care in the community for the most vulnerable.”


ISSUED BY: Aileen O’Meara, Communications Consultant, Irish College of General Practitioners. Tel. 01 2542984 / 087 2239830.

Email: ICGP.news@gmail.com