Media Release

14/09/2012
Families and weight gain
A student research project at James Cook University is investigating the impact on families of a common side-effect of medications for some mental illnesses — weight gain.

A student research project at James Cook University is investigating the impact on families of a common side-effect of medications for some mental illnesses — weight gain.

“Like any illness, mental illness affects not just the person, but also those who live with, care for and support that person,” said Lea Scheltens, an honours student with JCU’s School of Nursing, Midwifery and Nutrition.

“Some medications for conditions such as schizophrenia have been linked to rapid and prolonged weight gain that can be problematic for the individual,” Ms Scheltens said.

“For nurses and other health professionals, understanding the impact of an illness on the family is an important part of an effective support strategy.”

Ms Scheltens plans to interview family members or partners of people who have gained weight as a side effect of medication for a mental illness.

Interviews will be confidential and can be conducted at James Cook University’s Townsville or Cairns campuses, or at a mutually agreed location. Interviews are likely to take from 30 minutes to an hour.

For more information on the project, or to find out whether your family might be eligible to take part, please contact Lea Scheltens by email at lea.scheltens@my.jcu.edu.au

Issued September 14, 2012

Media enquiries: E. linden.woodward@jcu.edu.au T. 07 4042 1007