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Mental health sufferers 'three times more likely to die'

Adults with serious mental illnesses are three times more likely to die than the general population, it is claimed.

Data from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) show 13 in every 1,000 people aged between 18 and 74 with a serious mental health conditions died in the year 2009/10.

This is compared to a death rate of around four in every 1,000 people in the general population.

The findings form part of a new measure focusing on mental health published for the first time in the NHS Outcomes Framework.

Under the measure, people with a 'serious mental illness' are defined as those who have been in contact with specialist secondary mental health services at any time over the previous three years - including out-patients, people in contact with community services and in-patients.

 “The mental health indicator breaks new ground by linking data from the Mental Health Minimum Data set with deaths data from the Office of National Statistics to reveal the extent to which people with a serious mental health condition are more likely to die than those in the general population,” said Tim Straughan, Chief Executive of the HSCIC.

“The HSCIC is increasingly exploiting the benefits of linking data from disparate sources in order to provide valuable insights into health issues which can be explored further and inform decision-making at local and national level.”