Lower life expectancy for people with mental illness

Share Canberra's trusted news:

RESEARCH from ANU found that men who are diagnosed with a mental health condition can expect to live 10.2 years less than those who aren’t, and women 7.3 years.

Lead researcher associate Prof Annette Erlangsen says the study, which analysed medical and hospital data from Denmark from 1994-2014, also found the “mortality-gap” has stayed consistent, despite efforts to address the issue.

“It is worrisome that the mortality gap between people with mental disorders and the general population has not decreased over the past decades – despite our efforts to address suicide prevention and other relevant factors,” she says.

ANU School of Demography’s associate Prof, Vladimir Canudas-Romo says while suicide, homicide and accidents (such as car crashes) are major contributing factors in the gap, these causes of death have seen some decline over the 20 year period.

He’s surprised, however, to see the gap in years lost between people with and without mental disorders doubled for deaths due to cancer and cardio-vascular disease.

“Overall the mortality gap has stayed the same, but the causes of death have changed,” he says.

“Cancer and health issues such as diabetes and heart disease are now playing a bigger role.”

Associate Prof Canudas-Romo says it’s concerning to see a marked increase in the number of alcohol related deaths.

“That was an eye opener,” he says. “Deaths involving alcohol still account for the major share of the life years lost among people with mental disorders over the past two decades.”

The research team has called on governments to address the mortality gap by implementing more holistic approaches to dealing with mental illness.

“It is not enough to be simply prescribing some medicine and sending them on their way,” Prof Canudas-Romo says.

He is currently exploring the prospect of replicating the study in Australia.

The article has been published in The Lancet Psychiatry.

Who Can You Trust?

In a world beleaguered by spin and confused messages, there's never been more need for diverse, trustworthy, independent journalism in Canberra.

Who can you trust? Well, for more than 25 years, "CityNews" has proudly been an independent, free, family-owned news magazine, serving the national capital with quality, integrity and authority. Through our weekly magazine and daily through our digital platforms, we constantly and reliably deliver high-quality and diverse opinion, news, arts, socials and lifestyle columns.

If you trust our work online and believe in the power of independent voices, I encourage you to make a small contribution.

Every dollar of support will be invested back into our journalism so we can continue to provide a valuably different view of what's happening around you and keep citynews.com.au free.

Click here to make your donation and you will be supporting the future of journalism and media diversity in the ACT.

Thank you,

Ian Meikle, editor

Previous articleMan faces charges for Waugh’s murder
Next articlePolice siege at Fyshwick ends peacefully

Leave a Reply