A research conducted in France has revealed that individuals with preexisting mental health disorders are at higher risk of COVID-19 death and should be categorized as an at-risk group.

COVID-19 is 1.8 times more likely to kill patients with mental disorders, according to the Nursing in Practice website citing the research published this week in JAMA Psychiatry, a monthly peer-reviewed medical journal of the University of Marseille.

According to the study, patients with severe mental health disorders, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, are 2.3 times more likely die from coronavirus than patients without mental health problems.

The analysis, which looked at 16 studies covering more than 19,000 people’s medical records from seven countries, even found a higher possibility of death after adjusting for risk factors such as obesity and age in people with severe mental disorders (1.7 times) and mental disorders as a whole (1.4 times).

The researchers urged public health decision-makers to prioritize mental health patients for disease prevention, vaccinations, treatment and specific training for hospital staff.

The research suggested that the immune system differences in people with bipolar or schizophrenia could possibly explain the higher risks in these groups.

However, it said future studies should look at the risk of death for each mental health disorder, as opposed to mental health disorders as a whole.

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