The disabilities below all appear to be side effects from drugs, isn't that odd?
The Quiet Tragedy of Premature Death Among Mental Health Consumers
Ronald W. Manderscheid, PhD, Director, Mental Health and Substance Use Programs, Constella Group, LLC
Persons with serious mental illnesses die 25 years younger than the general population,
based on reports for consumers served by state mental health agencies. Male consumers are
likely to die at about 53 years and female consumers, at 59 years. The 25-year disparity
is due to two factors, chronic physical disabilities (which account for 15-20 years of the difference)
and mental disabilities such as suicide (which account for 5-10 years).
These troubling numbers were uncovered by Craig Colton and me and reported in Preventing
Chronic Disease in April 2006. The data used in the study that we reported on
was submitted by public mental health agencies in eight states (Arizona, Missouri, Oklahoma,
Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Vermont, and Virginia) for 1997 through 2000. The data was
submitted during the 16-State Study on Mental Health Performance Measures, funded by the
Substance Abuse and Mental Health State Administration's Center for Mental Health Services
in collaboration with the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors.
Compared with findings from a much earlier related study,2 mental health consumers'
disparity in length of life appears to be worse in 2006 than in 1986. The causes of premature
death among persons with mental illnesses are equally disturbing. The chronic physical disabilities
contributing to premature death result from the lifestyle problems of many Americans.
The disabilities are obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, chronic heart disease, and