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Online course

Integrating Care: Depression, Anxiety and Physical Illness

Understand the connection between physical and mental health and improve your ability to identify symptoms and sources of help.

Integrating Care: Depression, Anxiety and Physical Illness

Explore the connection between depression/anxiety and physical illness

Around 1 in 3 people have a long-term physical illness, and of these people around 1 in 3 also struggle with mental health problems like depression and anxiety. Symptoms like pain, fatigue, disability, and uncertainty around treatment, can all contribute to depression and anxiety, which in turn can worsen physical symptoms.

On this course you will learn how mental and physical health interact. You will look in depth at the relationship between physical illness and depression/anxiety and improve your ability to recognise symptoms and sources of help.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 9 secondsLong-term conditions like diabetes and heart disease can impact our mental health just as much as our physical health, but very often, the emotional consequences of physical illness are ignored or neglected. To help people with health problems live well, we need support and care for the whole person. We need to integrate care so that people's mental and physical needs are treated as one. We all know people with health problems, and we all experience illness in our lifetimes. So this course is for everyone-- patients, and their family and friends, health care professionals, students, anyone interested in the overlap of mental and physical health.

Skip to 0 minutes and 50 secondsThe best way to understand why integrating mental and physical healthcare is so important is to hear from people living with chronic conditions day to day. We're going to meet Zac, who as a patient and a medical student, sees the problems from both angles. Zac will lead us on our journey, interviewing clinical and academic experts to understand why and how mental and physical illness overlap. We'll learn about the nature of depression and anxiety, and how these conditions affect people living with chronic illnesses. We'll hear from patients who've had first hand experience of depression or anxiety, and unique insight into how best to support people who are struggling with the emotional impact of illness.

Skip to 1 minute and 33 secondsWe'll also follow Dave, a fictional character, as he navigates life with depression and diabetes, and interacts with colleagues and clinicians. We'll look at how to open up conversations about emotional distress, the symptoms and signs look out for and the treatment options available. We'll discover how depression and anxiety are managed in general, and hospital settings, and learn from the doctors, nurses and mental health professionals working to integrate care and build a better healthcare system. My name is Matthew Hotopf. I'm a psychiatrist and a professor at King's College London, and one of the tutors on this course. Join us over the next three weeks as we discover how the mind and body interact to shape our experience of illness.

What topics will you cover?

  • Overview of the mind and body link and why it matters
  • The impact of depression and anxiety on health and quality of life
  • Approaches to integrating mental and physical healthcare
  • Communication skills to overcome barriers to talking about distress in illness
  • Challenges to identifying depression and anxiety in people with a physical illness
  • Assessment and management of suicide risk
  • Self-care techniques and sources of support for depression and anxiety
  • Treatment options, including talking therapies and medication

When would you like to start?

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you'll be able to...

  • Explain the mind-body link and how mental and physical illness interact
  • Describe the key risk factors, signs and symptoms, and challenges to identifying depression and anxiety in people with a physical illness
  • Initiate conversations about mental health and deal effectively with barriers to discussing depression and anxiety
  • Demonstrate knowledge of practical coping strategies, treatment options and sources of support for people with depression/anxiety and a physical illness
  • Evaluate suicide risk and explain when and how to take action
  • Reflect on how healthcare services can provide better care for people depression/anxiety and physical illness

Who is the course for?

This course is for anyone affected by physical and mental illness, their families and carers, and those working in healthcare.

Who will you learn with?

Lauren Rayner

I am Lecturer in Integrating Mental and Physical Healthcare at King's College London and Project Manager for IMPARTS (Integrating Mental and Physical healthcare: Research Training and Services)

Jane Hutton

I am Consultant Clinical Psychologist in Psychological Medicine at King's College Hospital and psychology lead for the IMPARTS project

Matthew Hotopf

I am a psychiatrist and Professor of General Hospital Psychiatry at King's College London. I work at the interface between medical illness and mental health problems.

Who developed the course?

King’s College London is ranked in the world’s top 20 universities. Based in the heart of London, it is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge, learning and understanding in the service of society.

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