Associations between recorded loneliness and adverse mental health outcomes among patients receiving mental healthcare in South London: a retrospective cohort study

Mayur Parmar, Ruimin Ma, Sumudu Attygalle, Maaheshi Deepika Herath, Christoph Mueller, Brendon Stubbs, Robert Stewart, Gayan Perera

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Abstract

Purpose
Loneliness disproportionately affects people with mental disorders, but associations with mental health outcomes in groups affected remain less well understood.

Method
A cohort of patients receiving mental healthcare on 30th June 2012 was assembled from a large mental health records database covering a south London catchment area. Recorded loneliness within the preceding 2 years was extracted using natural language processing and outcomes were measured between 30th June 2012 until 30th December 2019, except for survival which applied a censoring point of 6th December 2020 according to data available at the time of extraction. The following mental healthcare outcomes: (i) time to first crisis episode; (ii) time to first emergency presentation; (iii) all-cause mortality; (iv) days active to service per year; and (v) face-to-face contacts per year.

Results
Loneliness was recorded in 4,483 (16.7%) patients in the study population and fully adjusted models showed associations with subsequent crisis episode (HR 1.17, 95% CI 1.07–1.29), emergency presentation (HR 1.30, 1.21–1.40), days active per year (IRR 1.04, 1.03–1.05), and face-to-face contacts per year (IRR 1.28, 1.27–1.30). Recorded loneliness in patients with substance misuse problems was particularly strongly associated with adverse outcomes, including risk of emergency presentation (HR 1.68, 1.29–2.18) and mortality (HR 1.29, 1.01–1.65).

Conclusion
Patients receiving mental healthcare who are recorded as lonely have a higher risk of several adverse outcomes which may require a need for higher service input.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalSocial psychiatry and psychiatric epidemiology
Early online date15 Apr 2024
DOIs
Publication statusPublished online - 15 Apr 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2024.

Keywords

  • Contacts with mental health services
  • Loneliness
  • Mortality
  • Mental disorders
  • Crisis episode

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