December 6, 2017
According to the World Health Organisation, there is a loss of 10-25 years of life expectancy in those with severe mental disorders. For those with bipolar life expectancy is between 9 and 20 years shorter, with 10 to 20 years less life expectancy for those with schizophrenia, and 7 to 11 years for those with depression. In comparison, smoking reduces life expectancy by 8-10 years.
Life expectancy is lower for those with poor mental health due to higher risk of physical medical conditions including cardiovascular, respiratory and infectious disease, as well as diabetes and suicide. A big factor is the fact that those with mental health problems do not have access to the adequate health care to meet their physical health needs.
Those with serious mental health conditions are four times more likely to die as a result of diabetes, two to three times more likely to die of heart disease, four times as likely to die from respiratory disease, and twice as likely to die from a stroke.
There is a higher rate of infectious disease transmission in those with mental health conditions, such as HIV and hepatitis. This is due to socioeconomic disadvantages, and more risky behaviours like intravenous drug use and risky sexual practices.
Those with schizophrenia are at higher risk of tuberculosis die to substance abuse, poor nutrition, homelessness and time in prisons and institutions.
Poor self-care like tobacco use and lack of exercise are common in those with depression, schizophrenia and bipolar, which can lead to diabetes, cardiovascular disease and respiratory illnesses.