• ​Led by the Worcestershire Early Intervention Service, in partnership with the University of Worcester.
  • Aimed at young people with psychosis and bipolar disorder under the care of the Worcestershire Early Intervention Service and South Worcestershire Recovery Service.
  • Aimed to support young people experiencing their first psychosis episode to make informed treatment and lifestyle choices.
  • Offered a co-ordinated, multi-professional, health and wellbeing programme for these young people.

​This project led by the Worcestershire Early Intervention Service aimed to support young people with psychosis and provide them with access to health care in a positive and socially inclusive environment.

Physical health problems are common in young people with psychosis. They typically have poorer quality of life with higher rates of premature cardiovascular disease and metabolic disorders such as type 2 diabetes, leading to reduced life expectancy. The mortality gap compared with non-psychotic peers is widening, primarily due to a sedentary lifestyle, poor diet, higher rates of obesity and smoking.

In many UK early intervention services physical health monitoring is not systematic and care plans do not routinely address physical health needs. SHAPE (supporting health and promoting exercise) is a physical health and wellbeing programme using the expertise of nutritionists, exercise physiologists and health trainers. It offers a 12-week lifestyle and exercise therapy programme at the McClelland Centre for Health and Wellbeing, which has gym facilities and private consultation rooms.

Since June 2014, the programme has been delivered to five separate cohorts of participants. To date, 27 young people have successfully completed the programme. Those who engage with and stick to the programme have either maintained or reduced their body mass and waist circumference compared to baseline levels; this is against an expected rising trajectory without the programme. Funding has been secured to roll out a SHAPE 2 initiative in the North of Worcestershire.

The biggest challenges for the project team have been maintaining momentum in light of staff changes, sickness and leave, and responding to higher than anticipated levels of outside interest in the programme. 

Supporting dissemination

This project was given further support through a Spreading Improvement grant to help disseminate learning and maximise the impact of the approach across the health service.

Funding will be used to increase the impact of the original project through a variety of activities including; the production of online digital materials, and the delivery of online staff training sessions to support health care teams to deliver the SHAPE programme globally.