Mental illness has an increased risk of death by homicide, suicide or accident. On an average mental health problems like depression or schizophrenia are related to higher rates of suicide. What's not been clear is whether mental illness also increases the risk of other causes of unnatural death.
Researchers at the University of Texas along with other colleagues in Italy did a comparative study They found that one quarter of deaths among the mentally ill were from unnatural causes: one per cent from homicide, 60 per cent suicide and 15 per cent accidental death. This means that people with a mental illness are six times more likely to be a victim of homicide than the general population. Alcohol and drug abuse were important factors is many of these deaths.
Strategies for reducing suicide risk among the mentally ill continue to be important. But this study suggests that we also need to look at how to reduce other types of unnatural death in the community.