n African Journal of Psychiatry - Patient access to care - a need for mental health leadership, and a role for industry : editorial




A recent report from the Royal College of Psychiatrists has called for greater parity between mental and physical health. Central to this call is the concept of inequity, and under funding for mental health, with a specific emphasis on access to care and a reduction in the ''mental health treatment gap''. Support for such a call is emphasized by data from a recently published study documenting trends in life expectancy for psychiatric patients compared to a non psychiatric population - specifically that the life expectancy gap has increased for both male and female psychiatric patients i.e. that years lived are less for a psychiatric population, with the gap increasing between the 1985 and 2005. These findings were noteworthy in that physical illness accounted for 77.7% of excess death in psychiatric patients, with suicide accounting for 13.9%. The suggestion is thus that resources for mental health need to include those for physical health.


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