Mental Health Issues Spiral In Recession-Hit Britain
2nd May, 20100 Comments
Recessions may not be good for the bank balance, but nor are they good for mental health and well-being. In fact, research carried out recently by Roehampton University and poverty charity Elizabeth Finn Care revealed that the number of people to have suffered from depressive illness during this most recent economic downturn is a staggering four to five times higher than previous levels, with a hefty 47 per cent of the population being affected. Just coincidence? Apparently not, as the study shows that the symptoms have arisen as a direct result of worries caused by the recession.
Speaking in reaction to the study’s findings, Joseph Poullis, Chartered Counselling Psychologist and the Clinical Director of The Psychotherapy Clinic commented, ‘I’m sure that most people would expect to see a rise in the levels of depression and anxiety that individuals experience during recessions, but I think that even those of us who are in the business of treating emotional and psychological illness are shocked by the extent to which they have risen.’
One of the greatest concerns expressed by Elizabeth Finn Care surrounds the fact that the findings of this recent research come at a time when the government has been making consistent cuts in funding for mental health services. With a massive budget deficit to be addressed and a general election just around the corner which will almost undoubtedly see the new government trying to scale back on spending, the fear is that many of those who are suffering from the effects of the recession will be left to struggle through on their own.
‘We all understand that physical illness, if it is left untreated, will just get worse,’ said Mr Poullis, ‘but it is important to appreciate that mental illness is, in many cases, no different. Early intervention is the best way to ensure that sufferers don’t spiral downwards into an even deeper pit of despair, which could end up with them being unable to work or to live a normal life. In addition, although it’s tempting to think that once the immediate ‘cause’ of the depression has disappeared things will all be fine, people who have suffered from depression once are more likely to endure further bouts in the future if they are not treated.'
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