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As reported in U.S. News and World Report Health, severe mental illness can reduce life expectancy as much as being a heavy smoker.  Those with more serious mental health disorders may live 7 to 24 years less than the general population, similar to someone who smokes 20 or more cigarettes a day.  The research found many links between mental illness and health risk factors, but it did not prove that mental illness causes early death.

Mentally ill people are more likely to suffer from serious health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.  They are more likely to suffer from drug dependence and die from suicide.  They are less likely to seek and obtain quality health care.  All of these are factors which may shorten life span.  To read this article in its entirety, please click here.