Skip to main content

The physical health of people with mental health conditions and/or addiction

This report follows on from an earlier literature review The physical health of people with a serious mental illness and/or addiction: An evidence review (Te Pou o te Whakaaro Nui, 2014). The 2014 review summarised well-established research evidence spanning many decades, in relation to the mortality and morbidity of people with mental health conditions and addiction, the factors contributing to these health disparities, and the evidence for promising approaches to address these issues.

In summary, the 2014 review found that:

• people living with serious mental health problems are at a greater risk of many chronic health conditions and have a much shorter life expectancy than their general population counterparts

• the disparities are due to greater exposure to known risk factors including low socio-economic status, high rates of smoking, alcohol and other drug use, reduced physical activity and poor nutrition, the side effects of psychotropic medication, and reduced access to physical healthcare

• a comprehensive approach involving collaboration across the health and social sectors, and including interventions at policy, healthcare service and individual behaviour change levels, is needed to address these inequities.