Mental Illness Linked to Higher Mortality Rates

Canada NewsWire

New Report: “40 is too young to die: A call for action from Toronto’s Early-Onset Illness and Mortality”

The Ontario Federation of Community Mental Health and Addiction Programs (OFCMHAP) would like to announce the release of “40

is too young to die: A call for action from Toronto’s Early Onset Illness and Mortality Working Group” by a coalition of

Toronto agencies, academics and supportive housing providers. The report refers to extensive research and studies which

indicate that individuals with mental health and addiction issues, have consistently higher mortality rather than the general


“40 is too young to die” confirms that individuals with mental health and addiction issues are at a much greater risk of

exposure to infectious diseases, early onset of chronic diseases and death. Those with serious mental illness and concurrent

disorders are more likely to suffer from multiple medical conditions. The report also showcases the direct link between

mental health and poor determinants of health such as poverty and homelessness which act as hurdles to physical health and

contribute to the early onset of chronic or ongoing physical conditions.

In an effort to minimize the impact of mental health and addiction issues as well as poor determinants of health, the report

calls on the Toronto Central LHIN to add early-onset illness and mortality as part of its strategic plan. The report claims

that this addition would be aligned with the LHINs commitments to health equity, pilot projects and is already supported

through research, and successful models in other jurisdictions which will help guide the way.

To support this, the report proposes the development of a Think Tank on Early-Onset Illness and Mortality to bring together

administrators, educators, researchers and practitioners from the health sector as well as consumers and front-line housing

and agency staff. A Think Tank on Early-Onset Illness and Mortality will help to increase knowledge exchange, identify

successful models for expansion and replication, identify potential partnerships and alter practices that perpetuate

discrimination and stigma. The Think Tank would explore topics such as service co-ordination, bringing health care to the

home, expanding access to one-stop clinics, providing training for health care professionals, and improving communication

among care providers.

This report is crucial to help provide individuals with mental health and addiction issues with appropriate access to

services, and create a system around prevention to promote better physical and mental health. As identified in “40 is too

young to die” the cost of doing nothing will only result in higher emergency room use, more hospitalization and unsuccessful

treatments rather than aiming to improve the well-being of these individuals.

To access the full report please click on the following link:

OFCMHAP would like to acknowledge Mainstay Housing, Houselink Community Homes, AIS, COPA, Woodgreen Community Services,

Margaret Frazier House, Dixon Hall, Street Health, St Stephen’s Community House., South Riverdale Community Health Centre,

Ryerson University Faculty of Arts and York University Faculty of Social Work and who together were members of the Early

Onset Illness and Mortality Working Group, which Mainstay convened, and also people with lived experience, for their

contribution to this report.


OFCMHAP brings together community mental health and addiction services in the province of Ontario to help members provide

effective, high-quality services through information sharing, education, advocacy and unified effort.

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