Managing weight gain and physical health while taking antipsychotic medication. Lived experience, ideas, and strategies.


Te whakanui ake i te hauora a-tinana: Maximising physical health is a nationwide improvement programme for mental health and addiction services, led by the Health Quality and Safety Commission (Te Tāhū Hauora). A co-design improvement group was formed by Health New Zealand, Te Whatu Ora Waitematā to identify and implement changes that will enhance the physical health of people who use mental health services in Waitematā.

Over fifty tangata whai ora and whānau were interviewed regarding the challenges of maintaining physical health while using antipsychotic medication.  The main worries were the impact of increased appetite, weight gain and the effect these had on mood and self-esteem.  People also reported feeling not listened to, blamed, and experiencing heightened shame when raising their concerns with health providers.

Two co-design project group members with personal experience of maintaining physical health while taking antipsychotic medication have created two leaflets. These leaflets name antipsychotic induced weight gain as a distressing problem and offer suggestions and techniques that have been effective for the authors.

The pamphlets have had four in-depth peer reviews by mental health service users, who shared more ideas on their experience of managing physical health whist taking antipsychotic medications and two further peer specialist reviews.

The Waitematā Maximising Physical Health Improvement Group is confident that these leaflets talk to a real issue and will be helpful and supportive when people are taking antipsychotic medications.



Download PDF 1
Download PDF 2





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