Ayo, who has psychosis, is one of the Trust’s many service users whose physical health needs are now being prioritised alongside his mental health issues.
The 49-year-old was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, marked by strong paranoid and delusional thoughts, 20 years ago.
At one stage he believed he was a millionaire, obtaining numerous credit cards and going on regular spending sprees racking up debts of around £15,000.
With his mental health condition now finally under control, the focus is firmly on tackling his physical health issues.
For the past ten years, he has suffered from Type 2 diabetes and currently smokes 30 cigarettes a day, having been a smoker since he was 14 – two key health problems that C&I is particularly targeting in such patients.
He has low lung capacity - stating that he “breathes like a 60 or 70-year-old” - and is currently undergoing exploratory hospital tests for an enlarged stomach which he fears may be due to a fatty liver. This summer he suffered a small stroke.
A key figure in supporting Ayo’s wider physical improvement is C&I Community Physical Health Matron Susan Cummins, who works closely with service users with multiple physical health issues, on a one-to-one basis.
This much tighter approach means there is closer liaison between Susan, Ayo’s GP, diabetes specialists, his social worker, and occupational health.
Susan is able to coordinate supportive health care for Ayo, arranging for help to reduce his smoking, helping him to navigate hospital and other medical visits and providing expertise and guidance on his physical health issues.
Working in a practical way, she has taken Ayo food shopping to show him how to choose healthier options, warning him off previous favourites such as Chicken Korma ready meals because of their high sugar levels.
The emphasis is on enabling Ayo to make better healthcare choices for himself in the future.
Ayo, of Archway, north London, said: “I am horrified by the difference in life expectancy between those who have psychosis and those who do not.
“I am very grateful though for all the help of Susan and other colleagues in helping me to improve my physical health – it has such a crucial impact on a person’s daily life.
“The NHS should be much more proactive in ensuring people with mental health issues are also given proper physical health checks at a much earlier age – certainly before they reach 40.”
About Camden and Islington NHS Trust
We provide mental health and substance misuse services to people living in Camden and Islington, and a substance misuse and psychological therapies service to residents in Kingston.
We have two inpatient facilities, at Highgate Mental Health Centre and St Pancras Hospital, as well as community based services throughout the London boroughs of Camden and Islington. Our Trust is also a member of University College London Partners (UCLP), one of the world’s leading academic health science partnerships.
We provide services for adults of working age, adults with learning difficulties, and older people in the London area either in a community or inpatient setting.
Our income for 2015/16 was £138 million and we have approximately 1,700 staff. Our staff work in multi-disciplinary teams providing a holistic approach to recovery. This means that we often work with partner agencies and the voluntary sector.
Camden and Islington Mental Health and Social Care Trust was established in 2002. In March 2008 we became the first Care Trust to achieve Foundation Trust status and are licensed by NHS Improvement.