People affected by severe mental health disorders have a greatly reduced life expectancy compared to their non-affected peers. Cardiovascular disease is the main contributor to this early mortality, caused by higher rates of smoking, physical inactivity, unhealthy diet, sleep disturbance, excessive alcohol use or substance abuse and medication side effects. Therefore, we need to take a preventative approach and translate effective interventions for physical health into routine clinical practice. These interventions should be delivered across all stages of mental health disorders and could also have the added benefit of leading to improvements in mental health. Furthermore, we need to advocate to ensure that people affected by severe mental health disorders receive the appropriate medical assessments and treatments when indicated. This themed issue highlights that physical health is now an urgent priority for funding and development in mental health services. The widespread implementation of evidence-based interventions into routine clinical practice is an essential need for consideration by clinicians and policymakers.