The mentally ill die young. Here’s how to solve that.

The mentally ill die young. Here’s how to solve that.
The mentally ill die young. Here’s how to solve that.

The mentally ill die young. Here’s how to solve that.

Earlier this this morning…we heard the story of Andrea Cooke, whose best friend Jeanette died of cardiovascular disease at the age of 66. Jeanette had schizophrenia and hadn’t been taking her medication. According to one study, seriously mentally ill people die 25 years earlier on average than people without mental illnesses. Many factors are thought to be responsible for that gap. Some psychiatric medications are tough on the body… Also, the mentally ill smoke more, are more likely to be homeless. and they have more trouble complying with advice from doctors. The sad thing is, all of that is preventable. One person who’s fighting to change this status quo is Patrick Corrigan, professor of Psychology at IIT. He’s the man behind two so-called “peer navigator” pilot program here in Chicago that sends trained workers out to take mentally ill people to the pharmacy, to doctor’s appointments and on chores in their daily lives to make sure they stay physically healthy and don’t turn into another statistic. Corrigan joins us with more on this. (Flickr/Carlos Lorenzo)