Aim: Considering the persistent excess mortality of people living with a mental disorder, this article provides an overview of potential causes to identify relevant research perspectives and to support the development of short-term measures in the French context.
We rely on a narrative review of the literature, both quantitative and qualitative, to define a conceptual framework of the different factors which could contribute to this excess mortality. Particular attention is given to research carried out in France to identify possible measures to implement in line with the specificities of the national context.
The excess mortality of people living with a mental disorder represents a health inequality resulting from a combination of factors, which are not only linked to individual behaviors and living conditions detrimental to health but also to the health system – both in terms of its organization and of the health professionals involved. Questions relating to the extent of the role played by the different factors and to the way they interact (specific social processes, combination of inequalities or a particular convergence at the crossing of all these factors…) remain.
These findings support the development of complementary research, relying on mixed methodologies, as well as of measures promoting access to somatic care for people living with a mental disorder throughout their care pathways (stronger development of prevention and patient education, better integration of somatic and psychiatric care teams, alternative modes of funding supporting a holistic approach to health…).