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Mental health problems surge

1st April 2010

The recession is having a significant impact on the nation’s health across the UK, according to a study published by a charity.

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The research by academics at Roehampton University and the children’s charity Elizabeth Finn Care says there has been a sharp rise in the number of people suffering stress, anxiety and depression because of redundancies, job insecurity and pay cuts owing to the current economic climate.

It shows the downturn has produced a rise in people with symptoms of common mental health conditions such as depression.

The charity’s findings highlight that among people who have lost their jobs in the last year, 71% have suffered symptoms of depression, 55% said the same about stress and 52% experienced symptoms of anxiety. Worst affected were those in the middle socio-economic group.

Of those who had experienced a drop in salary or cut in their hours or days, 51% said they had experienced symptoms of depression, 48% said the same for anxiety and 45% experienced stress symptoms. Worst affected age group in this area were those in the 18-30 range.

Dr Joerg Huber, principal lecturer at Roehampton University, said: "What makes our findings worrying is the high percentage of people reporting symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress.

"This applies even more to those who have lost their job or experienced a major loss of income."

Professor Steve Field, chairman of the Royal College of General Practitioners, said the increase in mental health problems identified by the researchers reflected the recent experience of family doctors.

 

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