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Recession 'affecting men's health'

Friday October 19th 2012

Men's mental health has declined because of the threat of unemployment in the recession, a new study has shown.

According to a team of researchers from the Medical Research Council in Glasgow, the economic downturn could start to be considered as a "threat to public health".

As part of the study, the researchers look at data concerning 107,000 people taken from the annual Health Survey for England between 1991 and 2010.

All of the people analysed were aged between 25 and 64 years old.

The results of the analysis showed the highest rates of poor mental health were between the years of 1991 and 1993, when the UK was in recession.

In the subsequent years the rates dropped steadily until 2004, when they started to increase slightly.

From 2008, when the current downturn began, the rates have risen sharply again. At the start of the economic slump 13.7% of those analysed had some form of anxiety or depression. In 2009 the figure rose to 16.4% and fell slightly to 15.5% two years ago.

Writing in the BMJ Open journal, the authors said: "The finding that mental health across the general population has deteriorated following the recession's onset, and (that) this association does not appear to be limited to those out of employment nor those whose household income has declined, has important implications."

Copyright Press Association 2012

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