People with severe mental illness (SMI) such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder experience poorer health, often dying 15 to 20 years earlier of preventable or manageable conditions. Diabetes contributes significantly to this, being two to three times more common in people with SMI.
There are several reasons for this, including the individual’s mental illness, its treatment, lifestyle (e.g. lack of exercise, smoking) and poverty. However, the relative influence of these factors, and the ways they may intersect in developing diabetes, remains unclear.
We want to find out why patients with SMI are more likely to develop diabetes and have more complications from their diabetes; and to understand how current diabetes care might contribute to this, in order to design improvements.
We hope our study will help by generating new evidence through a mix of methods, combining looking at primary care records with interviews with people living with SMI and diabetes, their relatives or friends and healthcare professionals who deliver services to this population.
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