People with serious mental illness die at least 10–15 years earlier than the general population. The majority of these deaths are not related to suicide but to cardiovascular disease (CVD), which occur at rates that are two to three times higher than in the general population. This may be because many of the modifiable risk factors associated with CVD, such as smoking, obesity, poor diet, diabetes, lipid problems and lack of exercise are highly prevalent among this population. Certain medications used to treat mental illness can also increase this risk.
WMC is attempting to address this by participating in the Brain-Heart program, an initiative first created by the Center for Addiction and Mental Health the Medical Psychiatry Alliance to help improve health outcomes in individuals with mental illness. We will work to provide medical care, and diabetes and weight management and implement appropriate monitoring of health parameters in individuals taking psychiatric medications linked to weight gain.
Because of the links between mental illness, obesity, diabetes and CVD, we will also work with clients and their families who do not yet have risk factors, to prevent weight gain and its associated illnesses.
Medicine - Psychiatry Alliance (MPA)
Video: Patients with mental health concerns can die 10 - 15 years earlier due to a lack of medical care. Learn how the MPA is changing this and how WMC is involved.