People with severe mental illness such as schizophrenia, psychosis were at 50 per cent increased risk of death from all causes following Covid-19 infection compared to those without severe mental illness, reveals a study, led by researchers one of Indian-origin.
The research, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, found that those with more than one long-term health condition (multimorbidity) were at greater risk of death: for each additional long-term health condition, the risk of death increased by six per cent for people with severe mental illness and 16 per cent for people without severe mental illness following Covid-19 infection.
The team from King’s College London analysed data from over 660,000 UK patients between February 2020 and April 2021.
Among the 7,146 people with severe mental illness, there was a 50 per cent greater risk of death from all causes following Covid-19 infection compared with those without severe mental illness.
People of colour from Caribbean/Africa were at a 22 per cent higher risk of death following Covid-19 infection than others, and this was similar for people with and without severe mental illness.
However, in around 30 per cent of patient data, ethnicity was not recorded. Other ethnic groups studied were a 'South Asian' group which included Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Asian 'Other' groups and a 'Mixed' ethnicity group.
“These are stark findings and highlight the health inequalities that exist for people living with severe mental illness, people from racialised groups and people from different regions of the country,” said lead author Dr Jayati Das-Munshi, from the ESRC Centre for Society and Mental Health at King’s.
“We still need to learn more about the experiences of these groups which we are doing through in-depth interview research and we also need to understand the gap in how our services provide for these vulnerable people. The pandemic shone a light on these inequalities, and we must learn from this to develop new policies and improve service provision,” Das-Munshi added.