The gap in life expectancy from preventable physical illness in psychiatric patients in Western Australia: Retrospective analysis of population based registers
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Objective To examine the mortality experience of psychiatric patients in Western Australia compared with the general population. Design Population based study. Setting Western Australia, 1985-2005. Participants Psychiatric patients (292?585) registered with mental health services in Western Australia. Main outcome measures Trends in life expectancy for psychiatric patients compared with the Western Australian population and causes of excess mortality, including physical health conditions and unnatural causes of death. Results When using active prevalence of disorder (contact with services in previous five years), the life expectancy gap increased from 13.5 to 15.9 years for males and from 10.4 to 12.0 years for females between 1985 and 2005. Additionally, 77.7% of excess deaths were attributed to physical health conditions, including cardiovascular disease (29.9%) and cancer (13.5%). Suicide was the cause of 13.9% of excess deaths. Conclusions Despite knowledge about excess mortality in people with mental illness, the gap in their life expectancy compared with the general population has widened since 1985. With most excess deaths being due to physical health conditions, public efforts should be directed towards improving physical health to reduce mortality in people with mental illness, in addition to ongoing efforts to prevent suicide.
British Medical Journal
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