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Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine - Barts and The London

People with severe mental illness access general medical services more often than those who are unaffected

People with severe mental illnesses, such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and psychosis, are more likely to use general non-psychiatric health services than people without severe mental illness.

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In a systematic review and meta-analysis published in PLOS Medicine, Wolfson Institute researchers incorporated findings from 74 studies and found that adults with severe mental illness have more non-psychiatric inpatient hospital admissions, longer stays in hospital, higher 30-day readmission rates, more emergency department visits, and greater use of primary care services than people without severe mental illness. While evidence already exists showing that people with common mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety, utilize general medical services more than people without these disorders, this study specifically highlights the extent of the impact of severe mental illnesses on general medical services.

Lead author Dr Amy Ronaldson said: “These study results will help to build a case for and guide the delivery of system-wide integration of mental and physical health services.”

Amy Ronaldson, Lotte Elton, Simone Jayakumar, Anna Jieman, Kristoffer Halvorsrud, Kamaldeep Bhui. Severe mental illness and health service utilisation for non-psychiatric medical disorders: A systematic review and meta-analysis. PLOS Medicine 2020.