Mortality among homeless people with schizophrenia in Sydney, Australia: a 10-year follow-up

Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2001 Feb;103(2):105-10. doi: 10.1034/j.1600-0447.2001.00192.x.


Objective: The aims were first, to describe deaths in a cohort of homeless people compared to the general population and secondly, to compare deaths among the individuals with schizophrenia to those without schizophrenia.

Method: Mortality was assessed in a cohort of 708 homeless subjects, 506 with schizophrenia who were referred 10 years previously to psychiatric outreach clinics. Standardized mortality ratios (SMRs) were calculated.

Results: Eighty-three people (12%) had died, 19 from suicide. The SMR was 3.76 for homeless men and 3.14 for homeless women. There was a non-significant trend for higher excess mortality among men without schizophrenia compared to men with schizophrenia. SMRs for suicide were significantly elevated among homeless men.

Conclusion: Homeless people in inner Sydney have death rates three to four times higher than people in the general population of New South Wales. Excess mortality was greatest for younger age groups.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Catchment Area, Health
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Homeless Persons / psychology
  • Homeless Persons / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Schizophrenia / mortality*
  • Schizophrenic Psychology
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data