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The latter can destabilize public service budgets, with many consequences, including some on education, social welfare and health care systems. Policy choices can influence the impact of any economic recession on mental health outcomes. This is because mental health depends upon a variety of socioeconomic and environmental factors 6.

High frequencies of common mental disorders and suicide are associated with poverty, poor education, material disadvantage, social fragmentation and deprivation, and unemployment 7 , 8 , 9.

The Financial and Economic Crises and Their Impact on Health and Social Well-Being

Recessions can widen income inequalities in societies, which in turn increases the risk of poor mental health The number of households in high debt, repossession of houses and evictions is at risk of increasing as a result of the economic crisis. Protective factors will be weakened and risk factors will be strengthened. A substantial body of research signposts that additional mental health risks emerge in times of economic change.

We know that people who experience unemployment and impoverishment have a significantly greater risk of mental health problems, such as depression, alcohol use disorders and suicide, than their unaffected counterparts 12 , Men, in particular, are at increased risk of mental health problems 14 and death due to suicide 15 or alcohol use 16 during times of economic adversity.

Economic and Health Effects of the Financial Crisis on Older Households | RAND

There is evidence that debts, financial difficulties and housing payment problems lead to mental health problems 17 , 18 , The more debts people have, the higher the risk of many common mental disorders 20 , Increases in national and regional unemployment rates are associated with increases in suicide rates 3 , 5 , The least well educated are those at greatest risk of ill health after job loss During recessions, social inequalities in health can widen It is the poor — and those made poor through loss of income or housing — that will be hardest hit by the economic crisis The crisis is likely to increase the social exclusion of vulnerable groups, the poor and people living near the poverty line Vulnerable groups include children, young people, single parent families, the unemployed, ethnic minorities, migrants, and older people.

Families as a whole also feel the effects of economic crisis. Poor families are especially hurt by cuts in health and education budgets. Family strain may lead to increases in family violence and child neglect.

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Children may also find themselves having to provide care and support for other family members. The foundations of good mental health are laid during pregnancy, infancy and childhood Economic stress, through its influence on parental mental health, marital interaction and parenting, impacts on the mental health of children and adolescents 29 , In many countries, alcohol consumption is negatively associated with population mental health.


For example, in Eastern Europe, alcohol consumption plays a considerable role in the suicide rate, especially in men Countries with strong social safety nets see smaller changes in the mental health of the population related to economic downturns European data indicates that, in countries with good formal social protection, health inequalities do not necessarily widen during a recession 5. For instance, in Finland and Sweden, over a period of deep economic recession and a large increase in unemployment, health inequalities remained broadly unchanged and suicide rates diminished, possibly because social benefits and services broadly remained and buffered against the structural pressures towards widening health inequalities 38 , 39 , These European findings are echoed by US data linking increased suicide rates with reductions in state welfare spending Reforms to social welfare to maintain or strengthen safety nets and taxation systems to reduce income inequalities potentially could help protect mental health.

The collated data indicates that social protection responses are crucial in mitigating poor mental health in any economic crisis while high levels of income inequality are associated with poor mental health. A holistic approach to the mental health challenges of the current economic crisis calls for interventions across several sectors. In addition to broad social welfare measures that go beyond mental health issues alone, the provision of mental health services in primary care, active labour market programmes, family support and parenting programmes, alcohol control, promotion of social capital and debt relief programmes constitute the cornerstones of successful policies to prevent mental health problems in the population.

Many countries are facing pressure from the international financial community to cut borrowing and public expenditure, which inevitably puts strain on their health and welfare budgets. Government expenditures on health are being squeezed and falling in real terms. Major health service cuts have recently been seen in Greece In spite of increased pressure on mental health services 44 , these services are particularly vulnerable to cuts, as they usually lack a strong advocacy base to oppose them, contrary to physical illness services.

Improved responsiveness of health services to changes in the social, employment and income status of the population, and early recognition of mental health problems, suicidal ideas and heavy drinking will help reduce the human toll of recession. To meet the mental health challenges of the economic crisis, not only is protection of spending on mental health services required, but also restructuring of services to meet the needs of the population.

An integrated care approach with a focus on service provision in primary care will increase access to mental health care, and shift the focus to prevention and early detection of mental health problems. Due to financial constraints, governments will inevitably have to review their welfare services. In many countries, mental health spending is still concentrated in psychiatric hospitals. One important challenge may be the need to continue to fund excess inpatient services at the same time as investing in other services during a transitional period Linking funding to accreditation systems and provider performance assessments can help support a shift in emphasis away from institutional care Universal coverage of mental health services is a cornerstone in reducing the impact of the crisis, and is likely to restrain social inequalities in health Many commentators, regulatory agencies and politicians have blamed the risky behaviour of both financial institutions Many commentators, regulatory agencies and politicians have blamed the risky behaviour of both financial institutions and their actors for the collapse of the United States sub-prime mortgage market which in turn precipitated the global 'Credit Crunch'.

This edited volume explores The most successful economies have the best working financial markets. While causation obviously runs in While causation obviously runs in both directions, current research has increasingly emphasized the role of finance in promoting growth. Here seven leading financial economists explore the links between financial development Financial Fragility, Debt and Economic Reforms.

The present volume articulates a state of concern with the destabilising and the growth retarding The present volume articulates a state of concern with the destabilising and the growth retarding effects of current world finance relations. Emphasis laid in this volume on finance is justified, not only in terms of its dominance over real activities This book is about Changing your mindset about money.

Avoiding costly mistakes through moderate risk Avoiding costly mistakes through moderate risk investments. Building your legacy. Collaboration with businesses in your community to empower people through financial literacy.

The true cost of the economic crisis on psychological well-being: a review

Hopefully, the beginning of your own business journey! Schmidt as a Pioneer of International Leading Your Ministry to Financial Health. Gili et al reported a substantially increased risk for major depression associated with mortgage repayment and evictions in Spain. In another review, an increase in the prevalence of depression and anxiety related to the economic crisis also was found. When we look outside Europe, Cooper, in his overview of economic recession and mental health, mentions an increase in drug use in the United States and notes that the estimated total of unemployed drug users rose from 1.

For Russia, several studies reported that mortality resulting from alcohol-related diseases, namely, unintentional alcohol poisoning, liver diseases, and especially cirrhosis, was increased during economic crisis. In contrast, in some countries, a reduction in the use of alcohol was observed. There were marked reductions in alcohol consumption, for instance, in Greece, 51 and drink-driving was also decreased. According to a review, Cooper also reports an increase in mental health service use related to the economic crisis.

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In addition, HIV infections increased in Greece in late , with half of the increases attributable to infections among intravenous drug users. Abbott and Wallace 64 also addressed the consequences on health of the economic crisis in post-Soviet Russia. They note that the economic transition from planned market economies was accompanied by economic crisis exemplified in declining gross domestic product, hyperinflation, and cuts in state welfare spending, resulting in several negative effects; including, among others, a lack of economic security and a decline in well-being.

In general, a decrease in traffic accidents is also observed. The fall in traffic accidents is one of the reasons that all-cause mortality rates did not show an increase during the economic crisis. Thomas et al found that some positive consequences of the economic crisis in Ireland could be more productivity and improved efficiency. Nevertheless, the prolongation of austerity, coupled with other less appealing adjustment policies, has yielded increased rationing. Because of the economic crisis, employment was threatened for a lot of people.

Kentikelenis et al stated, about the Great Recession in Greece, that adult unemployment had risen from 6. Uutela reported, based on a review, that in European Union countries, rising unemployment was associated with significant short-term increases in premature deaths from intentional violence, including suicides.

Recession and mental health

The abovementioned observation that higher levels of job loss go together with a higher increase in suicides has led to some discussion. However, Perlman and Bobak already brought forward the idea that the rapidity of the health consequences of financial crises can be explained by the adverse effects of anticipating job loss and job insecurity. In general, people facing financial difficulties are at greater risk for mental disorders. In Britain, people mired in debt have two to three times the frequency of depression or psychosis, double that of alcohol dependence, and four times that of drug dependence compared with the general population.

It is obvious that this association is reinforced during times of economic hardship and that this subgroup in the population is hit harder by the economic crisis than others. This seems to be a worldwide phenomenon. People with ill health also are at increased risk. A study in 27 European countries found that people with mental health problems not caused by the economic crisis are at greater risk of losing their job during economic crisis, especially men and individuals with lower levels of education.

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  • In Spain, Robert et al reported an increase in poor mental health among immigrant workers who experienced deterioration in their employment conditions, probably influenced by the economic crisis. Lopez Bernal reported that men and those of working age may be at particular risk for suicide associated with the crisis in Spain. Budget cuts will affect psychiatric services adversely just when economic stressors are raising the levels of need and demand in affected populations. This is still more the case for low-income and transitional societies, in which even small reductions in health service budgets may be very damaging.

    Video: The European Economic Crisis Seminar Series: The Case of Greece: Panel

    The example of Pakistan makes this clear, because it is hard to see how this country, with an average of one psychiatrist for every , people, could make efficiency savings in mental health. Our ability to see and give priority to the weakest people in society must be our guiding principle in difficult economic times, as well as in good.

    Gili et al argue in favor of expanding mental health services in primary care settings to at-risk groups, which may help cope with rising mental health disorders in areas affected by recession. Services should become particularly attentive to the mental health effects of the crisis and should emphasize early recognition of depression and suicidal thoughts, possibly with the aid of mental health telephone helplines, as well as on the prevention of depression. Different policy responses to economic crises can result in different health outcomes on a population level.

    A cited example is the contrast between Spain, where rising unemployment in the s and s was accompanied by a corresponding increase in suicide risk, and Sweden, whose own banking crisis in the s likewise threw many people out of work, but where the suicide rate actually declined in that period. This marked difference has been ascribed to the protective effect of the Swedish welfare state.

    Austria, with a strong social safety net, had a slight decline in suicides despite an increase in unemployment of 0. Thus, it seems that the effects on health of the financial crisis are largely dependent on the fiscal austerity policy and social protection measures in a country: Karanikolos mentions that the interaction of fiscal austerity with economic shocks and weak social protection is what ultimately seems to escalate health and social crises in Europe. This means that policy measures intended to combat the economic crisis can result in severe adverse effects regarding the well-being of the population.

    However, the deep cuts have actually had negative economic effects, as acknowledged by the International Monetary Fund. Gross domestic product fell sharply and unemployment skyrocketed as a result of the economic austerity measures, which posed additional health risks to the population through deterioration of socioeconomic factors.

    Interventions to combat economic exclusion and to promote social participation of individuals with mental health problems are even considered as more important during times of economic crisis. Which measures should not and should be taken, then, during economic crises?