UNC Seeks to Improve Physical and Mental Health

Dec 22, 2011

Doctors at UNC Chapel Hill want to improve the physical health of patients with severe mental illness. U-N-C's Center for Excellence in Community Mental Health has received a grant from the Duke Endowment to create a "health home" for patients with mental illness. Director John Gilmore says people with serious mental health issues like schizophrenia sometimes have trouble tending to their physical health. Gilmore says psychiatrists treating patients at the center will look out for other problems as well.

John Gilmore: "We'll monitor blood pressure, we'll do screenings for diabetes and hypertension. And we'll improve communication between the psychiatrist and the primary care doctor for people that have medical illnesses."

Gilmore says the center also will offer a general health and wellness program for patients. It sees about 500 patients from Orange, Chatham, and Person counties.