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Breaking The Silence: The Harsh Reality Of Mental Illness On Life Expectancy

The Impact of Mental Illness on Life Expectancy: Uncovering the Facts

What is Mental Illness?

Mental illness is a broad term that includes many different diagnoses, such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and others. Mental illness affects millions of people around the world, and can have a devastating impact on an individual’s quality of life. It can be difficult to diagnose and treat, and is often misunderstood or overlooked by those who have not experienced it.

How Long Do Mentally Ill People Live?

Unfortunately, mental illness can reduce the life expectancy of those who suffer from it. According to the World Health Organization, people with severe mental health disorders have a 10–25-year reduction in life expectancy. Schizophrenia mortality rates are between 2 and 2.5 times those in the general population, while individuals with depression have a 1.8 times higher risk of premature mortality. This can be attributed to a variety of factors, including poor physical health, lack of access to quality healthcare, substance abuse, and suicide.

Factors That Affect Life Expectancy in Mentally Ill People

Access to Quality Healthcare

One of the biggest factors that affects the life expectancy of people with mental illness is access to quality healthcare. Those with mental illnesses are more likely to go without healthcare due to financial constraints or lack of access to adequate care. Without access to quality healthcare, they may not receive the proper diagnosis and treatment they need to manage their condition. This can lead to a decrease in life expectancy due to complications from untreated or undertreated mental health issues.

Substance Abuse

Substance abuse is also a major factor in the life expectancy of people with mental illness. Substance abuse is often used as a way to cope with the symptoms of mental illness. Unfortunately, this can lead to further health complications, including addiction and increased risk of overdose. This can lead to a decrease in life expectancy due to the harmful effects of substance abuse.


Mental illness can also lead to an increased risk of suicide. Those with mental illness are more likely to have suicidal thoughts and behaviors, which can lead to premature death. This is why it’s so important for those with mental health issues to seek help early and get the treatment they need to manage their condition.

How to Increase the Life Expectancy of Mentally Ill People

There are a few steps that can be taken to help increase the life expectancy of people with mental illness. These include:

  • Access to Quality Healthcare: Ensuring those with mental illness have access to quality healthcare is essential for managing their condition and preventing complications. This includes access to psychiatrists, therapists, and other mental health professionals. It also means having access to medication and other treatments that can help manage symptoms.
  • Substance Abuse Treatment: Those with mental illness who are struggling with substance abuse should seek help from a qualified addiction specialist. This can help reduce the risk of overdose and other health complications, and can help increase life expectancy.
  • Suicide Prevention: Those with mental illness should be aware of the risk of suicide and seek help if they are having suicidal thoughts or behaviors. This can help prevent premature death and increase life expectancy.
  • Supportive Environment: It’s important for those with mental illness to have a supportive environment. This includes having family and friends who are understanding and supportive, as well as access to mental health support groups.

Mental illness is a serious and debilitating condition, and one that can drastically reduce life expectancy. It’s important to be aware of the factors that can affect life expectancy, such as access to quality healthcare, substance abuse, and suicide. Taking steps to ensure those with mental illness have access to the care they need, as well as a supportive environment, can help increase their life expectancy and improve their quality of life.