Aim: The aim of this project was to develop and deliver an evidence-based educational package with a physical and mental health focus to clinicians and other health care workers in mental health settings. Background: For individuals who experience mental disorders, pharmacotherapy is often considered as a first line of treatment. However, owing to adverse drug reactions and pre-existing physical conditions, outcomes for clients/service users may be compromised. Mortality and morbidity rates of people diagnosed with a serious mental illness caused by physical health conditions do not compare favourably with the general population. This paper reports on a physical skills project that was developed in collaboration between the University of Huddersfield and South West Yorkshire Partnership Foundation Trust. Method: Pre-post study design: five workshops were conducted in the fields of intramuscular injections, diabetes, health improvement, oral health and wound care. A total of 180 pairs of questionnaires to assess practitioner and student skills and knowledge were administered to participants before and after workshops. All workshops resulted in a statistically significant improvement in subject skills and knowledge scores (P < 0.001 in all cases). Questionnaires also elicited participant satisfaction with the workshops: over 99% of participants reported being 'satisfied' or 'very satisfied' with the workshops. Implications for nursing management: Mental health nurses are the largest group of registered practitioners working in the mental health setting and thus need to be harnessed to make a positive contribution to the improvement of the physical health status of service users with a serious mental illness.