A recent Australian-led research has discovered a wide array of mental illnesses is related to lifelong burdens like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity. Consequently, a declined life expectancy can be observed in those with mental illness of 20–25 years, as found by the study. Max Abbott, Professor of Psychology and Public Health at AUT, states, “The causes for declined life expectancy comprise high smoking rates & other drug use, lack of physical activity, and unhealthy diet. Lack of access to all-inclusive mental and health services is one more key factor.”
Jim Mann, Dunedin School of Medicine Professor, states these discoveries should be of “massive concern” to all organizations engaged in health care, in addition to the Government. Professor Mann said, “Epidemiologists and clinicians have long recognized that those with mental illness are at elevated threat of heart disease in addition to diabetes and obesity. Our mental illness rates are high.” The research is stated to assist in pinpointing why Pasifika and Māori people are over-represented in statistics for mental health. Also, it identifies the association between social factors, like mental health and poverty.
Likewise, a study of over 5 Million Canadians has discovered that having both mental and physical illness elevates visits to the emergency department beyond what would be anticipated from simply reckoning the health burden of each. In individuals without mental health problems, an increase in the number of physical illnesses from 0 to 4 elevated their risk of being a regular ED attendee by merely over 11%. However, for individuals with a severe mental disorder, the analogous increase of physical illness elevated their risk of regular visits to over 16%. That number was almost matched by individuals with “ordinary” mental illness at merely above 15%. A look at those percentages initially might not appear huge, however, the authors mention, “a minute rise in risk for a huge patients base might have great public health effects.”