Cancer screening in those with higher mental health needs

SHSC, Sheffield Flourish and SACMHA are working together to learn more about cancer screening in those with mental health needs.

The evidence shows us that people with severe mental illness (SMI) are less likely to attend screening and more likely to die from cancer.

To learn more about the potential barriers to screening, five coproduction sessions have been carried out exploring cervical, bowel and breast cancer. Coproduction is where service users, carers and families work in partnership with SHSC.

Artwork laid out on a table depicting experiences of cancer screening

These sessions involved an art-based approach, using abstract shapes to depict screening experiences. This art will be used in the creation of resources promoting and raising awareness of the importance of screening.

As part of the project Jaimee Wylam, public health registrar, is learning more about cancer screening in SHSC.

Jaimee said: “I have joined some of the coproduction sessions run at Sheffield Flourish, met young people at SayIt and attended the SACMHA Wellbeing lunch to learn more from those who use our services about their understanding and experiences of cancer screening. It has been really valuable, and I hope we can use the learning to support people in the future.”

An audit will begin soon exploring if we ask service users about cancer screening as part of their physical health care.

The next coproduction session will take place at the Gender Identity Clinic on Thursday 28 September.

This is a project funded by the Cancer Innovation Award Scheme, which aims to promote improvement and innovation in cancer services.

The scheme is run by the South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Cancer Alliance.

SHSC, in partnership with Sheffield Flourish and SACMHA Health and Social Care, was awarded funding to carry out this project to understand the experience of accessing cancer screening for people from communities with mental health needs, and to raise awareness of the importance of these screenings.