Mentally ill not getting needed care after heart attack – BHF

Poor mental health can lead to unhealthy lifestyle choices

People with significant mental illness may not be receiving the care they need after a heart attack, a new research has revealed.

Researchers from the University of Leicester compared the care given to those with and without serious mental disorders and found the number of mentally ill people who died of acute coronary events, like a heart attack, was higher than expected.

The study findings also showed that those with a diagnosis of severe mental illness were 14 per cent less likely to receive essential coronary care procedures following a heart attack.

Natasha Stewart, Senior Cardiac Nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: “This research reinforces the impact poor mental health can have on the risk of dying from heart disease. It highlights the need for healthcare professionals to provide a holistic approach to care and to recognize that the state of someone’s mental health can impact on their decision-making about potential treatments.

“Heart disease is very complex and there is already a well established link between mental health and developing the disease. It’s known poor mental health can lead to someone making unhealthy lifestyle choices, like smoking, which in turn can increase the risk of a heart attack.”

The research which was published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, examined 22 previous studies involving more than 825,000 people.