New video resource addresses mental health for GPs and their patients

College news
5 June 2018

A new video resource launched today by the Equally Well collaborative could help GPs improve health inequities experienced by people with mental health issues.

The video models a prescribing conversation between a patient and her GP, and shows how primary care professionals can use wellbeing-focussed prescribing.

“People experiencing mental health and/or addiction issues are at unacceptably greater risk for a range of chronic health conditions,” says attending College Board Member Dr Mark Peterson.

Wise Group's Helen Locket, Dr Mark Peterson, Wellbeing Wellington's Sarah O'Connor

“GPs are invested in caring for the whole person: their physical health as well as their mental health and wellbeing,” says Dr Peterson. “They have a critical role to play in addressing these inequities, and this video will be a useful addition to our GPs’ training toolkit.

“The College was very pleased to be able to help produce a resource designed with our members’ practice in mind.

New Zealand research shows that people who used mental health services were two times more likely to die prematurely than their general population counterparts.1

College Board Member Dr Mark Peterson opens the launch

The Equally Well collaborative, administered by Te Pou o te Whakaaro Nui, is a group of people and organisations working to reduce physical health disparities between people who experience mental health and addiction conditions, and people who don’t.

The collaborative recognises that certain medications, such as antipsychotics, have an impact on physical health, such as weight gain and cardiovascular disease (CVD), and can be major contributors to the inequitable rate of premature mortality. 

The video aims to target these and other factors which can contribute to inequity by helping GPs to avoid traps such as diagnostic overshadowing, which is when a health care professional attributes physical symptoms to a person’s mental health.

The video is the first in a planned series that will capture a journey through the mental health care system. The launch event hosted guests from all over New Zealand’s mental health and wellbeing sector.

1Cunningham R, Peterson D, Sarfati D, et al. Premature mortality in adults using New Zealand psychiatric services. N Z Med J. 2014:127(1394):31–41. Available from: 



Equally Well prescribing toolkit

View prescribing resources, guides and the new general practice video on Te Pou o te Whakaaro Nui's website.

Watch the video

Equally Well policy brief

Read the College's 2017 Equally Well policy brief: Improving the physical health of people experiencing mental health and/or addiction issues.

Read the policy brief