BACKGROUND The aim was to document the mortality of psychiatric patients within a service system characterised by a low beds-to-population ratio.
METHOD All patients admitted to one psychiatric hospital were followed from date of first admission after 31 July 1980 until 31 December 1992 with regard to death, by linkage to the Norwegian Central Register of Persons. Age-adjusted total mortality rates and standardised mortality ratios (SMRs) compared with the general population were computed.
RESULTS Mortality rates were highest in men, and increased with age in both sexes. SMRs were highest in the younger age-groups, and the overall SMR was significantly higher for men than for women. Mortality was highest during the first year after admission for both sexes and was higher than in the general population in all diagnostic groups.
CONCLUSIONS The mortality of psychiatric patients is still unsatisfactorily high, and men constitute a special high-risk group.