People with severe mental ill health (SMI), comprising conditions such as schizophrenia and bipolar illness experience some of the most profound health inequalities of any section of society.

Long term physical health problems, such as heart disease, respiratory illness and diabetes, develop much earlier in this group and are more common. Rates of smoking and obesity are much higher and physical activity is greatly reduced. Consequently, life expectancy is shortened by around 20 to 25 years.

Our challenge is to better understand and reduce this health gap or health inequality. For these reasons, we call ourselves the ‘Closing the Gap’ network.

Read more about the severe mental health illness categorisation.