Addressing preventable disease burden to improve health outcomes for people with schizophrenia and related psychoses

Current project

People with schizophrenia and related psychotic disorders are more likely to experience additional health problems and are more likely to die at a younger age than people without mental health problems. Most of the causes of early death in people with psychotic disorders are preventable, including cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, and diabetes. This study will use linked data from a large sample of people with schizophrenia and related psychotic disorders in NSW to understand what physical health problems people with these mental illnesses have, how they access health services for these conditions, other complicating factors (e.g. contact with the criminal justice system) and how these may relate to negative outcomes including avoidable deaths. We will compare our findings to the NSW general population and to people with other types of mental illness in NSW to discover the specific health vulnerabilities and treatment gaps. This will inform the development of specific strategies that will allow health services to better meet the needs of people with psychotic disorders.

Project members:

Prof Julian Trollor, Dr Rachael Cvejic, A/Prof Phil Ward, Dr Preeyaporn Srasuebkul, Dr Simone Reppermund, Dr Jackie Curtis, Prof Katherine Samaras (St Vincent’s Hospital), Dr Julia Lappin, A/Prof Kimberlie Dean, Adrian Walker

Project aims:

The aims of our project are to: 

  • Establish and characterise a population-based cohort of individuals with psychotic disorders in NSW, including physical and mental health comobordities, and related service use.
  • Determine the predictors of death in people with psychotic disorders, with a specific focus on predictors of potentially avoidable deaths. 
  • Build a large linked dataset of people with schizophrenia and related psychosis for future study. 

Where the project is at:

We are in the process of drafting a manuscript for Aim 1, and will be soon conducting data analysis for Aim 2.

Future deliverables:

Specific outcomes include: 

  • The development of two published manuscripts addressing Aim 1 and Aim 2.
  • The building of plain-English summaries for people with schizophrenia and related disorders, and their carers and families. 
  • Summaries of the research for health professionals and their families.
  • Expanding the project by using pilot data from the current project.
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