Mental health charity calls for urgent action to prevent avoidable deaths

The report, published today in the journal World Psychiatry, says the Government and the NHS must do more to reduce the number of people with mental illness who die prematurely.

Mark Winstanley, CEO of Rethink Mental Illness said:

“It’s a scandal that people with mental illness are at risk of dying 20 years younger than average, because of preventable physical health problems. Our Lethal Discrimination report showed that more than 30,000 people with mental illness are dying needlessly every year – that’s more than one avoidable death every 20 minutes.

“Signs of heart disease, diabetes and cancer are being missed because people aren’t getting the right health checks. Obesity and smoking are also huge problems – 40% or all tobacco consumption is by people with mental illness, yet they aren’t getting the support with lifestyle changes that other people expect and receive.

“For years our supporters have been calling for better physical health care for people with mental illness. While the Government recently released plans to improve physical health care, it is now up to the health professionals who commission local services to act. We are calling on them to do so as an urgent priority. Only then can we reduce the number of people with mental illness who are dying needlessly each year.”

For more information, contact Brian Semple, Senior Media Officer for Rethink Mental Illness or call 0207 840 3043

Notes to editors

Rethink Mental Illness is a charity that believes a better life is possible for people affected by mental illness. Since 1972 we have brought people together to support each other. We run services and support groups that change people’s lives and challenge attitudes about mental illness. We support almost 60,000 people every year across England to get through crises, live independently and realise they are not alone. We give information and advice to 500,000 more and change policy for millions. For more information go to

Brian Semple
Senior Media Officer – Policy
020 7840 3043
Follow me on twitter @SempleSemple