Poor physical health conditions seen in people living with serious mental illness are often associated with preventable risk factors. This includes factors such as smoking, physical inactivity, obesity, substance misuse and the side effects of psychiatric medication. This section contains information and links to resources in this section that support implementing improvements to data and digital technology. 

The current picture of health

Compared to the general population, people living with serious mental illness (SMI):

  • are likely to die 10 to 20 years’ earlier
  • have double the risk of obesity and diabetes
  • have three times the risk of hypertension
  • are three times more likely to smoke
  • are at higher risk of other preventable risk factors, including lack of exercise, alcohol and substance misuse
  • have a 50-75% higher mortality risk from heart disease, stroke, diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

What can we do about it?

There needs to be work across the entire health and social care system to offer access to care and treatment that will, over time, reduce the mortality gap for people living with SMI. Follow the recommended actions and use the tools in this section to improve access and take-up of preventative interventions. We have also focused factors that can deliver maximum impact: smoking, obesity and substance misuse.

Recommended actions

We have developed key recommendations that will support system change and effectively address the serious mental illness mortality gap. Follow the links for more information and tools to support you:

Tools and resources to use

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