Ask How I Am: Supporting emotional health among people living with long-term conditions has been coproduced by National Voices and Centre for Mental Health, with support from a range of long-term conditions charities.
Mental and physical health are closely related. People who live with long-term physical conditions are twice as likely to have poor mental health as those who do not. It is highly likely that this has increased further during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We spoke with people living with long-term conditions, their family members and the healthcare professionals who work with them, to understand the relationships between having a long-term illness and people’s emotional and mental wellbeing, and to identify ways of improving people’s experiences and outcomes.
The report shows the impact long-term conditions can have on people, their relationships and jobs; what helps; what support is already available and works; and what needs to change to better emotionally support people living with long-term physical ill-health. We are aware that in many places clinicians are supporting people with their mental health, but it is not always the case that emotional wellbeing is brought up.
We have created a set of 10 recommendations for system leaders and designers to make these conversations possible everywhere. They can be downloaded from this page. We have also created some Top Tips for practitioners to enable compassionate conversations and some information for people with long-term conditions, also both available here.
We have started a campaign, #AskHowIAm, calling for compassionate conversations at all points of contact between healthcare professionals and people living with long-term conditions. We are asking every healthcare provider - nurses, doctors, and allied healthcare professionals – to properly, meaningfully ask people how they are feeling.
And we are asking system leaders to make the necessary service changes to enable these vital conversations to take place, as well as to equip all healthcare professionals with the skills and knowledge they need to effectively support the range of emotional and mental health needs those living with long-term conditions may experience.
Can you help? Please promote the campaign in your channels where you feel able. We have created some assets for use on social media to support the campaign on different platforms; if you would like some, please email email@example.com.