People with mental illness are often NOT seen. Being invisible contributes to dying earlier and more frequently from cancer. We need to open our eyes and work together to bridge the divide between cancer and mental illness to save lives and decrease suffering. We are building a community network that engages diverse voices to promote equity in cancer care and research. We commit to:
In 2016, the Collaborative Care and Community Engagement Program (ENGAGE) conducted the first-of-its-kind pilot study of a person-centered, team-based approach to cancer care for patients with schizophrenia and cancer. The approach was informed by the collaborative care model and personalized to address the specific challenge of cancer and mental illness as follows:
“We are going to stand in the light, and lean toward joy. That was our mantra… It was the first time I felt validated, and everything changed.” ~ Kelly Grill; Family Caregiver & Director at Hopkinton Center for the ArtsLearn more about the Bridging the Divide Symposium
Individuals with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder die nearly 30 years earlier than the general population, and cancer is the 2nd leading cause of death among this group. People with serious mental illness are:
Access to early, integrated psychiatric care may improve cancer treatment for patients with mental illness.