The physical health of people with serious mental illness (SMI) has become a focal area of research. The aim of the present study was to ascertain the attention and distribution of research from within Australia on physical illness and SMI co-occurrence, and to identify gaps. A scoping review of peer-reviewed research literature from Australia, published between January 2000 and March 2014, was undertaken through an electronic literature search and coding of papers to chart trends. Four trends are highlighted: (i) an almost threefold increase in publications per year from 2000-2006 to 2007-2013; (ii) a steady release of literature reviews, especially from 2010; (iii) health-related behaviours, smoking, integrated-care programmes, and antipsychotic side-effects as the most common topics presented; and (iv) paucity of randomized, controlled trials on integrated-care models. Despite a marked increase in research attention to poorer physical health, there remains a large gap between research and the scale of the problem previously identified. More papers were descriptive or reviews, rather than evaluations of interventions. To foster more research, 12 research gaps are outlined. Addressing these gaps will facilitate the reduction of inequalities in physical health for people with SMI. Mental health nurses are well placed to lead multidisciplinary, consumer-informed research in this area.
- Mental health nursing
- Physical illness