Intended for healthcare professionals


Premature death among people with mental illness

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 21 May 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f2969

This article has a correction. Please see:

  1. Graham Thornicroft, professor of community psychiatry
  1. 1Health Service and Population Research Department, King’s College London, Institute of Psychiatry, London SE5 8AF, UK
  1. graham.thornicroft{at}

At best a failure to act on evidence; at worst a form of lethal discrimination

The findings of a linked paper by Lawrence and colleagues (doi:10.1136/bmj.f2539) raise disturbing questions about our disregard for the duration and value of the lives of people with mental illness.1 It has been clear for more than 50 years that people with the more disabling forms of mental illness do not live as long as those without mental illness.2 This finding has been repeatedly reported across decades and continents.3 4 Evidence from low and middle income countries is sparse,5 6 despite poignant accounts from colleagues in such countries of people with severe mental illness being abandoned in forests or deserts when families can no longer cope. Lawrence and colleagues’ research covers new ground by focusing on reduced life expectancy among …

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