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Saturday 24th August 2019

Physical health burden of mental illness

20th February 2013

New evidence has suggested that people with mental health problems have a mortality rate over three times higher than the general population.


The data from the NHS Information Centre, the first such comparison of mortality rates, has used figures based on the Mental Health Minimum Data Set (MHMDS) and Office for National Statistics (ONS) mortality data to compare mortality rates of those in contact with mental health services with the general population.

Those in contact with specialist mental health services have a mortality rate that is 3.6 times as high as the general population at 4,007.8 per 100,000 (83,393 deaths in total) compared to 1,121.8 per 100,000 in the general population.

The Mental Health Foundation said the data revealed “with frightening clarity” the inequalities in health experienced by people with a mental illness.

Head of policy Simon Lawton Smith said: “People with severe and enduring mental health problems are among the heaviest smokers in the UK, and are also often heavy drinkers. Being mentally ill can also cause people to neglect their physical health. They may not be physically active, and may stop eating properly.

“We must do more than just treat the clinical symptoms of mental illness. All healthcare staff need to understand the complex links between mental and physical health, and make sure that individuals get support for all their physical and mental health needs.”

He called for new training and systems that facilitate multidisciplinary and cross-sector working along with shared health and social care budgets, to help tackle the issue.


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