Study Finds Oregon’s Mentally Ill Dying Early

from, June 12, 2008

Oregonians with serious mental illness and addictions are dying much younger than the state’s general population.

A new study from Oregon’s Department of Human Services found that 89-percent of people treated for both mental illness and substance abuse die before age 50.

The premature deaths are often due to chronic diseases and complications from smoking, obesity and psychiatric medications.

People being treated for mental illness and substance abuse also have higher risks of dying by suicide, homicide, and accidents.

Ken Palke: “What that tells us is, is that this is a very vulnerable group of people and that persons with mental illness have some work to do, and we in the health community have some work to do in getting the word out about wellness.”

Ken Palke is with the Department of Human Services. He says his agency is starting a grassroots health campaign aimed at that vulnerable population.

The campaign emphasizes peer-to-peer support and includes outreach to help people coordinate their own health care. The department is seeking funding for the initiative.

EXTRA – State wellness effort seeks to halt early deaths of people with mental illness
EXTRA – State Wellness Initiative with tools, reports and research, presentations, articles, and useful links
EXTRA – For more information about this initiative, contact Ken Palke.
EXTRA – Reuters – Mentally ill undertreated globally: study