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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 62 (2020) 11, 968 - 973


Role of the GP in the lifestyle of patients with mental illnesses

M.J.T. Oud

background Prevention is a core task of general practitioners (gps) and practice nurses. For a patient with a physical or psychological complaint, they broaden the conversation to include possible lifestyle factors. Patients with mental illness often have reduced health skills.
aim To provide better insight into the role of the gp in the lifestyle of patients with psychological complaints or disorders.
method To describe indicated and care-related prevention in primary care, including the working methods of gps, integrated care, the gp care groups with general practitioners and the importance of cooperation with specialist mental health care.
results If a patient presents with physical or mental health complaints, the gp investigates a potential link with the patient’s lifestyle. The gp discusses this with the patient or delegates to the practice nurse for a trajectory of intensive lifestyle guidance. gps work according to the principle of ‘stepped care’, light intensity of guidance when possible and high intensity when needed. In general practice, multidisciplinary health care programmes are implemented for chronic diseases such as diabetes mellitus, copd, or cardiovascular disorders. Patients with severe mental illness have a higher prevalence of these chronic diseases and, moreover, they experience barriers in managing their lifestyle.
conclusion Diagnostics and treatment of these patients are a joint responsibility of primary and specialist health care but standardized systems for collaboration between these two have not been established yet. Psychiatrists could benefit much more from the knowledge and facilities that the gp can offer.

keywords general practitioner, prevention, lifestyle, multidisciplinary care, mental illness