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First-of-Its-Kind National Survey Uncovers Obstacles to Comprehensive Healthcare for People With Schizophrenia
Date:1/29/2008

The Majority of Respondents Feel Their Overall Health Affects Their

Recovery From Schizophrenia

WASHINGTON, Jan. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Mental Health America today released results of the first national online survey to examine overall healthcare in mental health settings from the perspective of both people with schizophrenia and psychiatrists. Results showed that although both groups are aware of actions to improve overall health and quality of life, they are not discussing such actions to the extent possible.

Mental Health America conducted the survey in response to recent data showing that people with serious mental illnesses -- including schizophrenia -- die at least 25 years earlier than the general population, largely due to preventable medical conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and respiratory and infectious diseases. Nationwide, rates of chronic illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes are at epidemic levels. Nowhere is this public health dilemma more evident than in people with serious mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, who die at nearly twice the rate of the rest of the population from heart disease and diabetes.

"We should all be alarmed and outraged that the lives of people with schizophrenia are being cut short by 25 years," said David Shern, Ph.D., president and CEO of Mental Health America. "This survey tells us that mental health providers and people with schizophrenia must communicate more about issues like diet, exercise and medication side effects if we're to turn the tide of this public health crisis and extend the lives of the millions of Americans with schizophrenia."

While 40 percent of survey respondents have private health insurance, they still report significantly higher rates of chronic illnesses than the general population. 44% and 23% of all respondents reported being obese and having diabetes, respectively, compared to 26% and 8% of the general population
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SOURCE Mental Health America
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