The increased mortality rate seen among those with psychiatric conditions was amplified during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a study published online Oct. 8 in The Lancet Regional Health — Europe.
Jayati Das-Munshi, Ph.D., from King’s College London in the United Kingdom, and colleagues examined age- and gender-standardized mortality ratios (SMRs) across nine psychiatric conditions using prospective data for 167,122 participants from a large mental health care provider in London in the United Kingdom from 2019 to 2020.
The researchers found that all-cause SMRs across all psychiatric cohorts were more than double that for the general population prior to the World Health Organization declaring COVID-19 a public health emergency on Jan. 30, 2020. All-cause SMRs increased further by the second quarter of 2020, when the United Kingdom experienced substantial peaks in COVID-19 deaths, with COVID-19 SMRs elevated across all conditions (notably, 9.24 for learning disabilities, 5.01 for pervasive developmental disorders, 4.81 for eating disorders, 3.26 for schizophrenia spectrum disorders, 3.82 for dementia, and 4.58 for personality disorders). During the whole year, deaths from other causes remained at least double the population average. Similarly increased SMRs were seen across ethnic groups.
“The results from our study paint a stark picture of how the existing vulnerability of those with mental health conditions and intellectual disabilities have worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic. The higher death rates compared to the general population were associated with more deaths from COVID-19 infection itself, as well as deaths from other causes,” Das-Munshi said in a statement.
One author disclosed ties to the pharmaceutical industry.