Accessibility statement

Closing the Gap: Inequalities and severe mental ill health

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

There is a significant health gap, and life expectancy is reduced by between 15-20 years. Long term medical conditions such as diabetes, respiratory illness and cardiovascular disease are much more common, and are often multiple. 

The causes of this health gap are complex and are often driven by environment and social disadvantage.  Health risk behaviours such as smoking, reduced physical activity and poor (or energy-dense) diets are common.  

Developing an interdisciplinary understanding the causes and consequences of the health gap for people with SMI is the focus for our research programme. We work in partnership with people with SMI and have begun to make inroads by designing strategies to help close this health gap.  

Links to some of the flagship York-led projects are given below. We lead a national network, funded by UKRI, called the Closing the Gap Network+, and we work across disciplines to mitigate this health gap. 

Closing the Gap

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Closing the Gap is a network to understand why people with severe mental illness have some of the worst physical health issues of any section of the population


Optimising Wellbeing During Self-isolation aims to explore the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions on people with severe mental ill health. 


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Skills and Proficiency in Essential Digital Requirements (SPIDER) is a survey study seeking to understand whether people with severe mental ill health have the skills they need to fully engage with and benefit from the Internet and digital technologies


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The SCIMITAR programme consists of the SCIMITAR and SCIMITAR+ trials which explore the clinical effectiveness and cost effectiveness of a bespoke smoking cessation intervention for people with severe mental ill health


The SPACES project aims to develop and test an intervention to support people with severe mental ill health to take part in physical activity

Oral Health

Closing the Gap- Oral Health’ is a research platform with an aim to address the oral health inequalities in people with severe mental illness. Our goal is to improve oral health of people with severe mental illness by developing and implementing appropriate intervention strategies and work towards reducing oral health inequalities