- Mortality rates for people with serious mental illness compared to the whole population published along-side each other for the first time
- New information published for each Clinical Commissioning Group highlighting the extent to which fewer patients with serious mental illness are being referred for vital physical health checks
A new campaign led by the RSA Open Public Services Network (OPSN) and Mind today publishes new information on the degree to which local areas are meeting the physical health needs of people with serious mental health illnesses (SMI). People with SMI are less likely to be sent for crucial physical health tests: six per cent less likely to have blood pressure tests, nine per cent less likely to have a screen for cervical cancer and 15 per cent less likely to have a cholesterol check. The new information, available on the RSA’s Living a Longer Life website allows people to look at how well their local areas are looking after people with SMI.
A new composite measure produced by the RSA OPSN network has identified 18 areas that have a statistically significant difference between tests for people with SMI and the whole population.
These data shed new light on the fact that people experiencing serious mental health illnesses are more likely to die younger:
- In NHS Bath and North East Somerset CCG mortality rates are 37 per cent below average for the whole population but 307 per cent above average for people with SMI.
- In NHS Wokingham CCG mortality rates are 29 per cent below average for the whole population but 305 per cent for people with SMI.
- NHS Kingston CCG mortality rates are 28 per cent below average for the whole population but 340 per cent above average for people with SMI.
Mind is calling for people with lived experience of mental health to access the site and make sure they are registered with a GP and are discussing with them how best to look after their physical health.
In an accompanying report, ‘Getting the message on mental health: From public data to pubic information’ the RSA’s Open Public Service network explores this and three other key questions to map the difference between the total population and people with serious mental health conditions:
- What is the likelihood of getting access to the right psychological therapies, and what is the outcome if I do?
- Am I more or less likely than average to be prescribed anti-depressants?
- How well am I supported to live well with my condition?
The RSA OSPN network is making all this new data and analyses available under an open data license to encourage commissioners, providers, policy makers and researchers to use this to plan and to manage services with the aim of narrowing inequalities.
Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind said:
It is shocking that people with severe mental health problems die much younger than the general population, often from preventable conditions which ought be picked up through routine testing and screening. Living a longer life shines a light on the desperate need for the physical health needs of people with mental health problems to be effectively met. It is a wake-up call for Government and local commissioners to ensure they have accurate data on health outcomes for people with mental health problems and provide the vital services and support needed for people to live a full and healthy life.
The RSA OPSN network is calling for Public Health England, the Local Government Association and public heath leaders to urgently agree a systematic review of strategies to improve the physical as well as mental health care of people with mental ill health.
Charlotte Alldritt, Director, Public Services and Communities, the RSA said:
Lack of comprehensive data on mental health is perhaps the biggest indictment of the system. How can we aspire for parity of esteem between mental and physical health if we cannot sufficiently understand the needs of local people or the degree to which our current configuration of services meets those needs? When up to one in four people will experience mental health problems at some point in their lives, we can’t continue to hope that other aspects of the health system will sufficiently capture the complex causes and consequences of mental health.
Notes to Editors
1. Data analysis was undertaken by Professor Simon Jones, New York University, and David Mullett, University of Surrey. They produced composite indicators using OECD specification and best practice.
2. The RSA Open Public Service Network (OPSN) convened an expert group with a variety of expertise in the field of mental health to provide strategic oversight and guidance on how to improve access and accessibility to mental health data, aimed specifically at mental health service users. Members of the group are listed in our report. https://www.thersa.org/mentalhealth-report
3. The Living a long life? website includes information about the extent to which people living with a mental health condition are likely to suffer higher rates of physical illness and die prematurely as a result. https://www.thersa.org/mentalhealth
4. The data and analyses can be downloaded viahttps://www.thersa.org/mentalhealth-data
5. Funded by the Cabinet Office Data Release Fund, the specific objectives of the project were to: improve the accessibility of data about mental health services for the public and service users; present data in ways that provide insight by clearly identifying the availability and quality of services within local areas; publish these as a new dataset under an open data license so that researchers can use it to better understand the care of mental health services; and present this data in ways that improves accountability and engages the public and service users through better understanding of the services available to them.
6. To find out more contact RSA Interim Head of Media Sarah Horner on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 7451 6893 or 07799 737 970.