People with mental health problems have a lower life expectancy, according to a large-scale population based study published July 31 in the British Medical Journal. The findings may prompt further research into the way doctors treat patients with even mild psychological problems.
A team of researchers from UCL (University College London) and the University of Edinburgh analysed data from over 68,000 adults aged 35 years and over who took part in the Health Survey for England from 1994 to 2004.
Participants in the study had been evaluated for mental health problems using a recognised scale ranging from no symptoms to severe symptoms of depression and anxiety. The team then looked to see whether people who reported these symptoms during the study were more likely to have died over an 8 year period. They also examined whether there was an association with death from cardiovascular disease, cancer or from external causes of death.