What is known on the subject?: The quality of life (QoL) of people with severe mental illness (SMI) is a growing international concern. Many earlier studies report the determinants and correlates of QoL and functioning in people with SMI in Western countries. The QoL and functioning of Asian inpatients with SMI are largely unknown, particularly at the point where they have been assessed as being ready for hospital discharge. What the paper adds to existing knowledge?: Physical health, social functioning and community living skills, and negative symptoms are important areas of concern immediately pre-discharge. Social relationship related QoL, overall symptoms, unemployment, education level, living situation, physical illness and treatment duration predict functioning levels. What are the implications for practice?: Mental health nurses should consider interventions beyond the traditional focus on psychopathology to improve functioning outcomes in people with SMI recently discharged from hospital. Inpatient services should utilise the opportunity to monitor and address physical health problems before discharge from inpatient care. Abstract. Introduction There is a lack of evidence on quality of life (QoL) and functioning in Asian people with severe mental illness (SMI) immediately prior to hospital discharge. This information could have major implications for treatment. Aim To profile perceived quality of life, symptom severity and level of functioning among people with SMI. Methods A cross-sectional study involving 347 adult inpatients with SMI. QoL (WHO Quality of Life - Brief Form), symptom severity (Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale) and level of functioning (Specific Level of Functioning) were measured immediately pre-discharge. Results Participants reported low social relationship-related QOL. Weak correlations were found between functioning, QoL and symptoms. Regression analysis identified the social relationship QoL domain, employment status, education level, living situation, physical illnesses, overall symptoms and the duration of receiving psychiatric services were statistically significant predictors of functioning levels. Discussion The findings may highlight a need for interventions beyond the traditional emphasis on psychiatric symptoms in order to improve functioning following an inpatient admission. Implications for practice Interventions to improve functioning in recently discharged people with SMI may need to be specifically designed to improve patients’ social relationships, support return to employment and minimise the risk of physical illness.