Mental Illness Linked to Shorter Life Spans in OC
Consistent with previous studies, the Orange County Health Care Agency (HCA) has found that Orange County residents with a severe mental illness tend to die earlier, about 18 years earlier, than the general population. Specifically, the average age at death for residents with a documented mental illness was 58.5 years, compared to 76.2 years among deaths to residents without any mention of a mental illness on their death certificate.
Nearly 8 in 10 residents with a mental illness died prematurely (before age 75) compared to only 36% of all deaths to County residents without any mention of mental illness. While unnatural causes like accidental overdose and suicide were indeed a part of the reason, this increased mortality is largely thought to be due to treatable medical conditions caused by modifiable risk factors such as smoking, obesity, substance abuse, psychotropic medication side effects, and inadequate access to medical care as indicated by the top five leading causes of premature death to mentally ill residents: Continue reading