BACKGROUND Several studies, mainly non-UK based, have reported higher than expected mortality for individuals with mental illness. This investigation in Salford (England) was undertaken to determine local experiences.
METHOD An historical cohort design was employed with record linkage to determine status at study end: maximum follow-up was 18 years. All 6952 individuals with schizophrenia, neuroses, affective or personality disorders, enrolled on the psychiatric case register between 1 January 1968 and 31 December 1975 were recruited: there were 199 exclusions. Death was the study end-point.
RESULTS Observed mortality was 65% higher than expected and elevated throughout the whole of follow-up. Mortality was higher in younger ages, females and subjects born locally. Circulatory disorders, injury and poisoning each caused approximately one-third of the excess deaths.
CONCLUSIONS Documenting mortality risk has important applications for prioritisation, resource allocation, developing control programmes, evaluating service effectiveness, disease forecasting and future research.