Mon. May 27th, 2024

OC Health Care Agency Press Release

Healthcare Advisory 

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:

  • Accidental (e.g., unintentional overdose)
  • Heart Disease
  • Suicide
  • Cancer
  • Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease (e.g., emphysema, COPD)

Seventy percent of all deaths to people with a mental illness were due to preventable causes. Efforts aimed at enabling the mentally ill to better manage chronic physical health conditions and promoting more healthful behaviors will help improve the quality and years of life for this population in Orange County.

If you know someone who needs help please call: 855-OC-LINKS (855-625-4657).

OC Links



By Editor

The New Santa Ana blog has been covering news, events and politics in Santa Ana since 2009.

One thought on “Mental illness linked to shorter life spans in Orange County”
  1. Well then, Greg Diamond should enjoy EVERY moment with his adopted children and internet fantasy life!

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