Previous research has shown that the mental disorders death rate is higher than the general population.  The National Institute on Mental Health reported that approximately 43.4 million people in America, which is about 25%, experience some type of mental problem in any particular year. About 10 million people in America suffer from a serious mental illness, like schizophrenia, major depression or bipolar disorder.

Past research studies have indicated that people suffering from a mental illness have a higher risk of mortality. In fact, researchers at University College London, UK found that the mental disorders death rate, including people who suffer anxiety, depression and/or have other mental health problems, have a shorter life expectancy than those who don’t have these conditions.

The study discussed in this article analyzed a total of 203 articles that studied the mental disorders death rate that had been published in 29 different countries. They looked at the mortality rate of people with mental illnesses, which had never been done in such a comprehensive manner before, although there were hundreds of studies that went back decades.

Using the data they compiled from 148 studies that surveyed the mental disorders death rate and the researchers discovered that the death rate among people suffering from mental disorders was about 2.22 times higher than those in the general population.

About 67% of the deaths were due to natural causes, but 17% were due to things like accidental injury or suicide. Over half of early deaths they analyzed in their study were caused by acute or chronic illnesses such as heart disease. The other deaths related to mental disorders had unknown causes. In the end, the analysis revealed that people with mental illnesses could have potentially lost ten years of their lives.

For those individuals with mental-health disorders, their mental illness was not necessarily the direct cause of their death. Rather, other health problems they had might have not been treated, which damaged their health and shortened their life. The researchers said that efforts at suicide prevention are extremely important for people with mental disorders because they are at such high risk for this. But efforts should also be made to lower the higher risk for early mortality among those with mental illnesses to prevent them from dying of other health issues like heart diseases. This might include looking at lifestyle and behavioral factors, their access to health care, as well as social issues like poverty. This study did not analyze mortality due to substance use disorders, something that would have likely raised these figures.

Previous research indicates that many adults with depression do not receive treatment for their symptoms. According to national surveys approximately half (49.5%) of adults with a lifetime history of major depressive disorder had never received treatment for depression and a similar percentage (48.4%) had not received any mental health care in the past year.  Only about one-third of young adults (18 to 25) with any mental disorder receives any type of mental health treatment. In Tennessee, about 3.7% of all adults will have serious thoughts of suicide.  In 2011, the latest year for which state-specific figures are available, Tennessee’s age-adjusted suicide rate was 14.6 per 100,000 people, translating into 938 reported suicide deaths. This rate and number are down from previous years but are still above the national average of 12.4 per 100,000. Furthermore, less half of all individuals with any mental illness in Tennessee will receive mental health treatment. Treatment for mental conditions has been proven to be highly effective and cannot prevent suicide, but also can promote a longer life.  Call us for treatment today!

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