Background Across international contexts, people with serious mental illnesses (SMI) experience marked reductions in life expectancy at birth. The intersection of ethnicity and social deprivation on life expectancy in SMI is unclear. The aim of this study was to assess the impact of ethnicity and area-level deprivation on life expectancy at birth in SMI, defined as schizophrenia-spectrum disorders, bipolar disorders and depression, using data from London, UK.
Methods Abridged life tables to calculate life expectancy at birth, in a cohort with clinician-ascribed ICD-10 schizophrenia-spectrum disorders, bipolar disorders or depression, managed in secondary mental healthcare. Life expectancy in the study population with SMI was compared with life expectancy in the general population and with those residing in the most deprived areas in England.
Results Irrespective of ethnicity, people with SMI experienced marked reductions in life expectancy at birth compared with the general population; from 14.5 years loss in men with schizophrenia-spectrum and bipolar disorders, to 13.2 years in women. Similar reductions were noted for people with depression. Across all diagnoses, life expectancy at birth in people with SMI was lower than the general population residing in the most deprived areas in England.
Conclusions Irrespective of ethnicity, reductions in life expectancy at birth among people with SMI are worse than the general population residing in the most deprived areas in England. This trend in people with SMI is similar to groups who experience extreme social exclusion and marginalisation. Evidence-based interventions to tackle this mortality gap need to take this into account.
- Bipolar disorders
- life expectancy
- severe mental illness