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One in four areas of England 'have worrying early death rate for mental health patients'

One in four areas of England 'have worrying early death rate for mental health patients'
26th November 2015

Early death rates among people with mental health problems are worryingly high in one in four areas across England.

This is according to a review by the Open Public Services Network, part of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, which has warned that the physical health of people with mental health issues is being overlooked.

Author of the review Charlotte Alldritt told the BBC: "We need to narrow this gap across the board. Everywhere can do better, but the areas that are doing even worse than you would expect are particularly worrying."

Early death rates in mental health patients were mainly found to be worse than expected in much of the north-west, parts of the West Midlands, north-east and Yorkshire and Humber. The issue is also present in the London boroughs of Kingston and Wandsworth, as well as Cornwall and much of the Thames Valley, demonstrating that the problem is prevalent across England.

Mental health patients were found to be six per cent less likely to undergo blood pressure tests, nine per cent less likely to  be screened for cervical cancer and 15 per cent less likely to have a cholesterol check. 

Ms Alldritt said these figures demonstrate that many early deaths among mental health patients may be easy to prevent if individuals are able to undertake simple health tests such as the above.

Paul Farmer, of the mental health charity Mind, commented: "It is shocking that people with severe mental health problems die much younger than the general population, often from preventable conditions which ought be picked up through routine testing and screening."

The treatment of mental health problems in the UK has been attracting considerable attention in recent months, with a number of prominent celebrities recently signing a petition that calls for the government to ensure such issues are treated as seriously as other conditions.

Read about support and personalised care at Barchester care homes for anyone with mental health concerns.