These findings were revealed in a new research from King’s College London and published in the
Researchers at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) and ESRC Centre for Society and Mental Health analyzed data from over 660,000 UK patients between February 2020 and April 2021.
Among the 7146 people with severe mental illness, there was a 50 percent greater risk of death from all causes following COVID-19 infection compared with those without severe mental illness.
Black Caribbean/Black African people were at a 22 percent higher risk of death following COVID-19 infection than White people, and this was similar for people with and without severe mental illness. However, in around 30 percent of patient data, ethnicity was not recorded.
The study revealed regional differences: on average, the risk of death following COVID-19 infection was higher among Northern UK regions compared to Southern regions. Those in Northern Ireland, the East Midlands, and the North-East were at between 24 – 28 percent increased risk of death compared to those in London.
Dr Alex Dregan, senior author and Senior Lecturer in psychiatric epidemiology at King’s IoPPN said: “We are the first group to use the Clinical Practice Research Datalink to understand the impact of COVID-19 on premature morbidity among people with severe mental illness, making this one of the largest studies of its kind Previous research has shown that these health inequalities exist but our study really demonstrates how the pandemic has exacerbated them. We now need to try to understand why this is happening and see if there is a pattern in how these people do or do not seek and access services.”
Principal investigator on the COVE-IMM project and co-lead of the platform for cohorts and quantitative methods at the ESRC Centre for Society and Mental Health, and lead author Dr Jayati Das-Munshi said:
“We still need to learn more about the experiences of these groups which we are doing through in-depth interview research and we also need to understand the gap in how our services provide for these vulnerable people. The pandemic shone a light on these inequalities, and we must learn from this to develop new policies and improve service provision.”
- Severe mental illness, race/ethnicity, multimorbidity and mortality following COVID-19 infection: nationally representative cohort study – (https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry/article/severe-mental-illness-raceethnicity-multimorbidity-and-mortality-following-covid19-infection-nationally-representative-cohort-study/0A6F4F4E8101B3BE33A9F2A0133915CF)