Concerns Over Early Death Rates in Mental Health Patients in the UK

November 18th, 2015

A new report has raised concerns over early death rates in patients with mental health disorders in almost a quarter of the regions in England. Research suggests that early death was more common all over the country in patients with mental health problems, however 51 regions were flagged up as having “particularly worrying” statistics.

Researchers from the Open Public Services Network, which is part of the Royal Society for Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, found that in some areas, patients with mental health disorders were not receiving the appropriate treatment for physical health needs and this was contributing to earlier death rates.

Study author Charlotte Alldritt explained that with 1 in 6 people in the UK suffering from a mental health disorder at some stage in their life, it is important to address regional differences and bring the care package provided to these patients up to scratch.

Research carried out for the report demonstrated that while suicide was a major risk, most people died earlier as a result of physical health problems that could have been prevented with measures including diabetes testing, blood pressure checks and cardiovascular assessments.

The report, which was compiled based on extensive analysis of more than 200 different data streams and sources, revealed that patients with mental health disorders were 6% less likely to have a blood pressure check, 9% less likely to have a cervical smear test and 15% less likely to have blood cholesterol assessments.

The research also showed that deprived areas were worst-affected, but more affluent areas also presented worrying figures. Wealthier areas such as Bath and Kingston upon Thames, for example, had a lower than average premature death rate, but a higher rate in people with mental health disorders.

Mental health charity MIND’s Paul Farmer said that the findings were very worrying and suggested that the report acts as a “wake-up call.”


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