A new study which was funded by the Cabinet Office has revealed that one in four areas across England have unacceptably high rates of early deaths amongst people who are suffering from mental health problems.
More than 200 local areas were analysed by independent experts who were looking at deaths which occurred before the age of 75. In every area, the premature mortality rate was higher amongst those with mental health problems but in 51 of the areas, it was found to be particularly worrying.
It was also found that overall, the premature death rate is 2.4 times higher than that of the general population.
The report found that although suicide is undoubtedly a significant factor in the high number of early deaths, poor physical health is likely to account for about two-thirds of cases. The researchers looked at 200 different sources of data as part of their review and concluded that those with mental illness are 6% less likely to have blood pressure tests, 9% less likely to have a screening for cervical cancer and 15% less likely to have a cholesterol check.
Many of the areas which are experiencing the biggest difference between mortality in the general population and those with mental health problems have high levels of deprivation. A number of relatively affluent areas including Bath, Wokingham and the London borough of Kingston were also flagged up however.
Speaking out about the findings, Paul Farmer from the mental health charity, Mind commented:
“It’s shocking that people with severe mental health problems die much younger than the general population and often from preventable conditions which ought to be picked up through routine testing and screening.”
If you think that you or someone you know could be suffering from mental health problems, please feel free to contact Life Works in the strictest of confidence and we will be more than happy to help.