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article imageMentally ill people 'hit hard by recession'

By Layne Weiss     Jul 27, 2013 in Health
The economic recession across Europe has had a major impact on people who suffer from mental health issues, according to research from King's College London.
Between 2006 and 2010, the rate of unemployment for people with mental health disorders rose twice as much for people who do not suffer from these problems-from 12.7% to 18.2%, BBC News reports.
Men and people with low levels of education were particularly affected by this according to the study conducted by researchers from the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London.
The findings are based on more than 27,000 people in 27 European countries, the Huff Post reports.
The study also found that men with mental health problems are particularly "vulnerable," BBC News reports. Between 2006 and 2010, the unemployment rate for this group increased from 13.7% in 2006 to to 21.7% in 2010.
According to the research, negative attitudes were a factor in the major rise in unemployment.
"Living in a country where a higher proportion of individuals believe that individuals with mental illness are dangerous was associated with a higher likelihood of unemployment for people with mental health problems, but did not influence unemployment rates for those without mental health problems," the study says.
"During periods of economic recession, attitudes to people with mental health problems may harden, further deepening social exclusion," co-author of the study Professor Graham Thornicroft said according to the Huff Post. "Government needs to be aware of these risks, and employers need to be aware of their duty to comply with the Equality Act to support people with mental problems coming into, and staying in, employment."
At the same time, however, it is also believed that people with mental health disorders may be less likely to seek help and may need specific outreach support before they are likely to look for a job, BBC News reports.
Dr. Sara Evans-Locko, the lead author of the study, suggested the trend was general across Europe and not specific to any particular culture.
"During a recession people who already have mental health problems find their economic and social position gets worse.
"We don't exactly know why, but it's harder for people to get jobs if there's already a gap on their CV and if employers need to cut staff then these people might be more vulnerable."
Beth Murphy, head of information at Mental Health Charity Mind said these findings distressing.
Since 2008, MindInfoline has received an increasing number of inquiries from people concerned about the impact of money and unemployment on mental health. This could be well attributed to the rise in unemployment.
"Specifically, redundancy is known to trigger depression and suicidal thoughts, as is the case with debt," Murphy said.
"Losing your job is a sudden change and there also be financial implications through loss of income, which in itself can cause anxiety," she added. "We urge anybody struggling with mental health to seek support."
In the United States, the unemployment rate is at 8% as of May 2013. This, however, only accounts for those receiving unemployment compensation. The reasoning behind the steady unemployment rate varies. Some blame it on there not being enough jobs, but others say mental illness plays a role just as it does in Europe, Medical Daily reports.
More about Mentally ill, Recession, employment rate, Europe
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