Helping people with severe mental disorders live longer and healthier lives

Author: 
WHO
Publication date: 
1 October 2017

Severe mental disorders include schizophrenia and related

conditions, bipolar disorder and moderate and severe depression.

They cause significant disability and are usually long lasting.

• Severe mental disorders affect more than 4% of the adult

population.

• People with severe mental disorders die on average 10-20 years

earlier than the general population. The disparity is highest

in low- and middle-income settings. Most deaths are due to

preventable physical diseases, especially cardiovascular disease,

respiratory disease and infections.

• People with severe mental disorders are 2-4 times more

likely to die due to unnatural causes, including suicide, homicide

and accidents, than the general population. In about 50% of

those dying by suicide, a mental disorder was present. Many

lives can be saved by ensuring that people with severe mental

disorders receive treatment.