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Tuesday 18th June 2019

Anxiety and depression increase risk of 'premature death'

1st August 2012

Researchers from University College London and Edinburgh University say people who have 'mild' mental illness are at an increased risk of dying prematurely.


The team examined the cases of 68,000 premature deaths from cancer, heart disease and other conditions in England.

They found an increased risk of premature death by 16% from 'low level distress' and an even higher risk of 67% from 'more serious' issues.

The researchers, whose study was funded by the Wellcome Trust and published in the British Medical Journal, reviewed a decade's worth of data and linked it to death certificates.

The study showed that the risk from mild forms of mental illness - believed to be suffered by around 25% of people in England - was cause for concern as many people would not have their conditions diagnosed. 

Lead author Dr Tom Russ said: "The fact that an increased risk of mortality was evident, even at low levels of psychological distress, should prompt research into whether treatment of these very common, minor symptoms can modify this increased risk of death."

John Williams, head of neuroscience and mental health at the Wellcome Trust, said: "This study highlights the need to ensure they have access to appropriate health care and advice so that they can take steps to improve the outcome of their illness." 

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