Mortality and medical comorbidity among patients with serious mental illness

Psychiatr Serv. 2006 Oct;57(10):1482-7. doi: 10.1176/ps.2006.57.10.1482.


Objectives: This study examined mortality and medical comorbidity among patients with serious mental illness in Ohio.

Methods: Data for 20,018 patients admitted to an Ohio public mental health hospital between 1998 and 2002 were matched against state death records, and 608 deaths were identified. Leading causes of death and medical comorbidities, years of potential life lost (YPLL), and standardized mortality ratios were calculated for this population.

Results: Heart disease (126 persons, or 21 percent) and suicides (108 persons, or 18 percent) were the leading causes of death. The mean+/-SD number of YPLL was 32.0+/-12.6 years. The highest cause-specific mean YPLL was for suicides (41.7+/-10.3 years). Deaths from unnatural causes had higher mean YPLL than deaths from any other causes. Cause-specific mean YPLL were higher for women than for men, except for homicides, pneumonia and influenza, and heart disease. The aggregated standardized mortality ratio from all causes of death was 3.2, corresponding to 417 excess deaths (p<.001). Obesity (144 persons, or 24 percent) and hypertension (136 persons, or 22 percent) were the most prevalent medical comorbidities.

Conclusions: This study demonstrated excess mortality among patients in Ohio with serious mental illness. Results highlight the need to integrate delivery of currently fragmented mental and physical health services and to target interventions that improve quality-of-life outcomes for this population.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Demography
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Heart Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Hospitals, Psychiatric / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / epidemiology*
  • Influenza, Human / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / mortality*
  • Mental Disorders / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Ohio / epidemiology
  • Pneumonia / epidemiology*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data*