Mental-health patients dying young
Affordable housing advocate Linda Chamberlain knows eight people with mental illness who have died recently. But she’s convinced it wasn’t mental-health issues that killed them.
“I can’t tell you how many people are dying at 40 from heart attacks due to diabetes and not proper nutrition,” says Chamberlain, 61, “They’re not eating properly and they’re eating the wrong food,”
“Some of these medications are giving people diabetes,” she says.
If you apply those rates to Statistics Canada mortality figures, people with serious mental illness account for the majority of suicides in Canada — 3,240 out of 3,512 annual deaths — but also a tremendous portion of people dying from cardiovascular disease, as much as 46,000 out of about 69,000 deaths. There many possible reasons for this, including weight gain caused by antipsychotic medication and lifestyle factors including smoking, lack of exercise and diet.