Mental illness -- Social aspects, Schizophrenia, Young adults
Research has found that individuals who suffer from major mental illness, such as schizophrenia, are dying on average 15-25 years earlier than those who do not suffer from schizophrenia.1 Many causes for this shortened lifespan are suspected. Those causes include: lack of access to health care, suicide, poverty, substance use and side effects from anti-psychotic medications. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has challenged mental health providers treating major mental illness to address this disturbing trend by promoting their “10x10” campaign. The goal of the campaign is to increase the lifespan of individuals who suffer from major mental illness by ten years over the next ten years. One example of a program that has taken on this challenge is Oregon’s Early Assessment and Support Alliance (EASA). EASA is a systematic effort within Oregon to prevent early trauma and disability caused by schizophrenia-related conditions. The goal of EASA is to identify individuals in the earliest possible stage of a schizophrenia-related condition and provide rapid and intensive treatment to the individual experiencing the condition and to their family and/or primary support system. EASA programs are currently active in sixteen Oregon counties and are free to individuals who meet criteria for a new schizophrenia-related condition.
Melton, R. (2012). Addressing the physical health challenges impacting young individuals with major mental illness. Focal Point, 26(1), 23-24.