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How we can improve mortality rates for people with mental illnesses

, | | November 16, 2018

[P]eople with serious mental illness die 10 to 25 years earlier than the general population.

It’s not difficult to understand why. Even in the wealthiest countries, people living with serious mental illness face everyday challenges that complicate their ability to adopt healthy choices and seek needed care. The same is true in low- and middle-income countries, but with added barriers. In those countries, 90 percent of people with serious mental illnesses are outside the formal health care system because they are confined to their homes or in social or penal institutions.

We can do something about these disparities, and a growing set of global evidence is showing the way. That is the main message of new care guidelines released [by the World Health Organization.]

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One requires changing perceptions among health care workers and caregivers that people with serious mental illness are “beyond help.”

People with serious mental illness, for example, are two times more likely than the general population to use tobacco and often die younger due to preventable tobacco-related health conditions. The new global guidelines make clear that the smoking-cessation interventions recommended for the general population should also be offered to people with serious mental illness.

The new WHO guidelines demonstrate that everyone who provides health services to individuals with serious mental illness can make a difference in their health.

Read full, original post: People with serious mental illness tend to die prematurely. We can fix that

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