Individuals with mental illnesses already have a number of unique challenges to face, and now Time Magazine tells us they have one more terrifying prospect, because, according to Time’s recent article by Kate Torgovnick “on average, people with severe mental illness die 25 years younger than the rest of the population.”
There are many contributing factors to this shocking figure, but one of the main reasons the article gives is that “people with serious mental illness tend to be low on the socioeconomic totem pole and don’t often get the best available health care.”
The real tragedy in this scenario is that it doesn’t have to be this way. With the right planning—either by the individual in question or by loving friends and family—someone with a serious mental illness could still have access to the best medical care. And a special needs trust complete with provisions for an advocate or an advisory committee will provide the beneficiary with further protection; someone to ensure that his or her needs are being met, and any ailments are taken seriously by medical professionals.
With enough education and planning, perhaps we can improve the situations of those with mental illnesses… and change that shocking mortality rate as well.