Mental illness sufferers have a higher risk of physical health conditions

People who suffer from severe mental health issues; including, psychosis, bipolar affective disorder or schizophrenia, are at a higher risk of physical health issues, new reports claim.

Public Health England (PHE) have analysed GP data for adults under the age of 75, and have concluded that people who have a severe mental illness (SMI) diagnosis are likely to have other health conditions.

These physical health conditions range from obesity to asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease to a high risk of having a stroke.

It has also come to light that those with an SMI diagnosis are twice as likely to suffer from multiple physical health conditions, and die on average 15 to 20 years earlier than the general population.

This is especially the case for those aged 15 to 34, as they are at a higher risk of having three or more conditions than others.

Professor Julia Verne, Head of Clinical Epidemiology said: “It is vital that people experiencing severe mental illness are supported to improve their physical health; including better access to support and services such as screening programmes, health check and stop smoking services.”

Another problem faced is that mental health conditions are found to be more prevalent in ‘deprived’ areas of England; consequently, these people are very likely to develop physical problems.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines on psychosis and schizophrenia claim that patients with SMIs should have annual reviews to check physical health.

Professor Tim Kendall, National Clinical Director for mental health at NHS England said: “Improving the life expectancy of people with serious mental health issues needs coordinated action.”

With new physical assessments to be put in place, the NHS expects that more than 280,000 people will be helped by 2021.

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