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PSY 180 - Psychology of Aging - Textbook


Chronic Mental Illness

2019 © Mental Health Association of Maryland. All Rights Reserved.

Basic Terms

  • chronic mental illness
  • bipolar disorder
  • schizophrenia
  • late-onset schizophrenia


(Learning Objectives, Key Points, and Basic Terms content by Professor Stacey Cooper is licensed under CC BY 4.0.)


"The rates of serious and chronic mental illnesses are very low in the older adult population; however, they are important to understand. Improvements in mental health and general medical care have resulted in more individuals with serious mental illness living longer than ever before.

The long-term health outcomes vary for people with serious mental illnesses. For older people who have received proper treatment, experienced relief from symptoms and who have strong family and/or social support systems, late life may unfold as it would for someone without a mental illness. For older individuals who developed the disorder in their younger years without adequate treatment, a strong support network or good health practices, the outcome is less promising. Disease and disability are more likely to begin at a younger age for people with chronic mental illness. People with serious and persistent mental illness have a life expectancy that is shorter than the general population."