People with serious mental illnesses in York face a mortality rate more than five times higher than their peers, new figures suggest.

The Mental Health Foundation said the numbers are not "out of the blue" as people with serious mental illnesses are often significantly disadvantaged.

City of York Council and the NHS Humber and North Yorkshire Integrated Care Board said work is ongoing to address health inequality in the area.

Figures from the NHS show 450 people with serious mental illness died in York between 2020 and 2022.

Considering the total 39,165 people in contact with secondary mental health services since 2015 in the area, it meant they faced a mortality rate of 1,824 deaths per 100,000 people.

This is 5.6 times the mortality rate of people without mental illnesses – 326 deaths per 100,000.

Dr David Crepaz‑Keay, Mental Health Foundation head of research and applied learning, said there are many factors that lead to the shorter life expectancy and higher mortality rate of people with serious mental illnesses.

"There is anything between a 15 to 20 year drop in life expectancy for a diagnosis for schizophrenia, for example, but it is not about the condition itself being life shortening,” he said. “It is down to other factors."

Dr Crepaz‑Keay added that high levels of smoking, increased likelihood of using unprescribed drugs and poor sleep may also all play a role.

"But probably more likely than that is the socio-economic determinants associated with poverty," he said. "By any measure, people with these diagnoses are much more likely to be unemployed, more likely to be living alone, and more likely to be poor. We know all of those have a health impact."

Mortality rate in those with a severe mental illness 'most stark' - NHS and council

In a joint statement, Peter Roderick, director of public health at City of York Council and Sarah Coltman-Lovell, NHS Humber and North Yorkshire Integrated Care Board's York director, told The Press: “We know that amongst the many different types of health inequality experienced by people in York, the higher mortality rate in those with a severe mental illness is one of the most stark.

“There is no single cause of this inequality, and it will be tackled through a range of initiatives such as work in public health helping people quit smoking, get active and use the ‘five ways to wellbeing’ tool, to work around our community mental health transformation programme and to improve mental health crisis support.”

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Meanwhile, those with no mental illness had a mortality rate of 11 deaths per 100,000 – meaning those with a serious mental illness were 18.7 times as likely to die.

Dr Crepaz-Keay said the increased rate is not "out of the blue" as the group has "never been seen as a high priority".