Showing posts with label mental health. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mental health. Show all posts

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Mental Illness and the Poor

 People from Scotland's most deprived areas are more than three times as likely to be treated for mental illness than those in more affluent communities, according to a report.

The study looked at the numbers of people treated for mental health problems during 2013 and 2014.
Official figures stated a discharge figure of 649 in 100,000 people in the most deprived areas This compared to a figure of 197 per 100,000 people in affluent communities.


The report stated there was "a strong and consistent relationship with deprivation", adding: "The more deprived an area, the higher its rate of psychiatric inpatient discharges".

Thursday, November 07, 2013

The Depressing Fact of the Day

Depression is the second most common cause of disability worldwide after back pain, according to research. Globally, only a small proportion of patients have access to treatment, the World Health Organization says.The disease must be treated as a world public health priority, experts report.

Commenting on the study, Dr Daniel Chisholm, a health economist at the department for mental health and substance abuse at the World Health Organization said depression was a very disabling condition.

"It's a big public health challenge and a big problem to be reckoned with but not enough is being done. Around the world only a tiny proportion of people get any sort of treatment or diagnosis."

The Middle East and North Africa suffer the world’s highest depression rates, according to a new study by researchers at Australia’s University of Queensland -- and it’s costing people in the region years off their lives.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Crazy Capitalism


Few visitors to the Socialist Courier blog will need to be told of the great frequency and seriousness of mental and emotional disturbances which afflict large masses of the working population, including not only those who receive psychiatric treatment but also the members of the families living in the same household.

Marxists approach the topic of illness as a whole in society, rather than dividing it along the traditional line between body and soul. It means recognising the unity of the physical and mental sides of a person, and talking about whole ranges of different types of ‘illness’ which may be neither particularly physical nor psychological. This approach would reveals how mental and physical health stems more from the economic demands of the system of production. Mental illness is always a sign that basic human needs are not being satisfied; that there is a lack of love, a lack of reason for being, a lack of justice; that something important is missing and, because of this, pathological trends are developing.

For a long time, the hell of mental illness was regarded as arising primarily from an ‘illness’ at all but seen as caused by “moral weakness” The stigma of mental illness still operates very powerfully, even in these allegedly enlightened days. Mental stress and breakdown, whether psychiatrically treated or not, is one of the most grievous hidden costs of life in this type of society. There is no way of gauging how many thousands of individuals have the lives poisoned or wrecked in the secrecy of their own dwelling, while maintaining an apparently cheerful public ‘front’ outside the home.

The care and treatment of mentally ill persons has undergone a revolution. The Victorian lunatic asylums have disappeared. The concept of the voluntary patient has replaced it. Only those who are so disturbed to be a danger to themselves or others are sectioned and hospitalised compulsory and only the criminal insane are detained in a non-hospital environment.

Some radical commentators have claimed that since life in our society is repressive and exploiting, mental illness is one more form of protest which deserves our sympathy and solidarity. And the psychiatric treatment of mental illness is seen as a part, perhaps an essential part, of the brainwashing, head-fixing, mind-dulling apparatus of modern capitalism. This message is in many respects true but not wholly true and leads to the conclusion that if there is no such thing as mental illness, we can have no use for the idea of mental health. We can therefore make no demands on the system to provide better facilities, material and personnel, for the treatment of the mentally ill,  no need for arguing  for a greatly improved psychiatric service within the NHS or demand more and better mental hospitals and clinics, more and better doctors and nurses. The burden of mental illness is thrown back on to the working class, to be dealt with in the isolated, behind the walls of the home-situation.

The working class and socialist movement must make it clear that society as a whole must accept responsibility for the care of the mentally ill – not on the cheap, by impersonal mass-produced treatment in overcrowded hospitals, but as expertly as we would wish to be treated ourselves.  There is nothing shameful about seeking medical help during a time of emotional distress. Sadly the existing NHS facilities can only discourage and frighten them. We know, (still need to be told), that many mental hospitals are bad, that many psychiatrists are incompetent (and reactionary). The same, of course, applies to hospitals, doctors and nurses dealing with physical medicine, only nobody thinks of using this to attack the very existence of public amenities for treating physical illnesses.

 Erich Fromm wrote “If parents really wish that their children be not only successful but also to be mentally healthy, they must consider as essential those norms and values that lead to mental health and not only those that lead to success.”

Helen Caldecott winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and a world renowned campaigner against nuclear weapons says that our species is “mentally sick… The whole society is sick”. We are in the grip of a death wish. She points out that 1 in 25 people are sociopaths with “no moral conscience” and these are the people who rise to the top; who are in charge.

Sociopaths and psychopaths are characterised by their lack of empathy; the ability to experience the feelings and emotions of others. Guilt and remorse are a foreign to politicians (Blair is a prime example). Those character types are both irresponsible and have an overblown sense of entitlement. Nothing is ever their fault. All these are traits which we can readily recognise among the power elites of our mad world such as in banking, with the expectation of bail-outs at the expense of the poor and vulnerable. More than 10 million people across the US have been evicted from their homes in the last six years, foreclosed on by the banks.

We all know, scum rises to the top. We all know that bosses are like smoking dope - the more you suck the higher you get. Psychologist Robert Hare, a researcher on corporate psychopaths puts the numbers between 3 and 12 percent of managers.

 There are seventeen thousand nuclear weapons in existence; enough to incinerate everyone on the planet many times over as well as destroying most of the other nine million species we share the planet with. Is this sane?  Nevertheless, Obama has recently allotted $537 million to upgrade 180 aging nuclear bombs to make them more accurate! Each bomb can destroy a major city the size of London or New York. Is this sane? Each year, around $45-60 billion worth of arms sales are traded. The 5 permanent members of the UN Security Council (US, Russia, France, United Kingdom and China), together with Germany and Italy, account for around 85% of the arms sold between 2004 and 20115 and most arms sales (something like 75%) are to developing countries. It is justified  by saying if we didn’t do it someone else would. Is this sane?  Global military spending is over $1.7 trillion dollars mostly by  powers purported to be peace-loving and law-abiding. Despite hundreds of years of experience to the contrary, political leaders still behave as though the best way of solving a dispute is invasion. Making war to stop war is like pouring petrol on fires to put them out. Is this sane?

Contamination from a single failure at Chernobyl spread right across Europe. 27 years later at Fukushima three complete meltdowns of reactor cores have been emitting radioactive material for over two years and nobody knows how to stop it. Capitalism is refusing to abandon a technology which can, through a single accident, pollute countries and continents. Is this sane?  Kyoto, the only international binding treaty on emissions cuts, has failed to slow global carbon emissions. The extreme weather of recent years, which has caused countless deaths is believed, by most meteorologists and climate scientists to be an indicator of what is to come from climate change. Excessive increase in global temperature will result in famine, floods, water shortages, large population movements, and land and resource wars. Yet there is a lack of political will to implement policies in governments, their state of denial and lack of urgency encouraged by powerful economic interests. Is this sane?

Capitalism is insane. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Alienated Lives


Why are Scots sicker than the rest of the UK?

Dr Phil Hanlon and researchers at the Centre for Population Health have compared life, incomes and health outcomes in Glasgow, Liverpool and Manchester. They found “deprivation profiles” were almost identical, but premature deaths in Glasgow were 30 per cent higher.

This excess mortality ran across almost all ages, males and females and deprived and non-deprived neighbourhoods. It was not, surprisingly, lung cancer, heart and liver disease were not the factors tipping Glaswegians over the UK average.  It was higher levels of drug and alcohol misuse, suicide and death through violence.

Why are some Glaswegians so prone to self-harming and life-shortening behaviours?

Chief Medical Officer Harry Burns cites the work of Aaron Antonovsky, who maintained that a sense of coherence (SOC) is necessary for adult health. The  medical sociologist defined the SOC as “the extent to which one has a feeling of confidence that the stimuli deriving from one’s internal and external environments are structured, predictable and explicable, that one has the internal resources to meet the demands posed by these stimuli and, finally, that these demands are seen as challenges, worthy of investment and engagement”.

In other words, good health is a mixture of optimism and control that relies on life being comprehensible, manageable and meaningful. Comprehensibility allows people to perceive events as ordered, consistent, and structured. Manageability allows people to feel they can cope. Meaning allows life to make sense, and challenges to seem worthy of commitment.

Socialist Courier would rather phrase it in Marxist terms - Scots are more alienated. So many people are stuck in meaningless lives they can only self-medicate using drugs, booze or food.

Or perhaps as John Lennon puts it  “you can't really function you're so full of fear” and  they “keep you doped with religion sex and tv”




Monday, June 10, 2013

Suicide system

Suicide rates in older men in Northern Ireland have jumped significantly over the past decade. Austerity measures, job losses and mortgage payment difficulties have been blamed for a rise in the number of men aged in their 30s, 40s and 50s taking their own lives, the suicide prevention charity Public Initiative for the Prevention of Suicide and Self-harm (Pips).

"Today it is older men who are attempting to take their own lives. I have no doubt the recession has a major part to play.” Pips founder Philip McTaggart said. 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Tyranny of Work

The mental health of Scottish workers is being put at risk thanks to the "relentless pressure" of management systems meant to increase their productivity. Unions and researchers claim workers have suffered extreme stress, depression and in a few cases threatened suicide.  Austerity has allowed some firms to use management techniques to make their staff's lives a misery.

The impact on the mental health of employees was highlighted in the report Performance Management And The New Workplace Tyranny. Phil Taylor, professor of work and employment studies at the university in Glasgow, carried out the research.  He said performance management had evolved into a "continuous, all-encompassing" process of "tight monitoring and strict target compliance".

Taylor said: "Many who have been in the workplace for 10, 15, 20 years, talk with great pain about how the workplace they joined has been transformed beyond all recognition over those decades and the aspects of work that gave them a degree of happiness or satisfaction – such as talking to colleagues, satisfying customers or doing a good job – have been subordinated to the pressure of targets. That is a genuine degradation: people shouldn't have to work like this. You are only as good as your last score, and you can have people who have been utterly loyal and committed to an organisation and excellent performers, then being thrust into the underperformance camp. That can exacerbate feelings of pressure and can lead to stress, which compounds the difficulties of actually doing the work and makes it difficult to get out of that category."

Mary Alexander, deputy regional secretary of Unite in Scotland, said an example from the financial industry showed it could take as little as six weeks from being put on a performance improvement process to being fired. She said, sales targets which were being set were often "not achievable and unrealistic".

Dr Andrew Fraser, director of public health science at NHS Health Scotland said: "We know that a tough and unsupportive working environment, and specifically workplace bullying and harassment can have a negative impact on a person's mental health and that, as a result of sustained bullying, some people may experience stress and anxiety. If that experience is sustained and not addressed by management at all levels, workplace stress may lead to depression which is a major risk factor for suicide." 

Meanwhile another report  reveals than more than 500 Scottish construction workers were blacklisted for jobs because of union activity. Personal details about 3213 workers were discovered at a Worcestershire-based firm called The Consulting Association. The files were used by more than 40 firms including Balfour Beatty, Robert McAlpine, Laing O'Rourke and Costain to check the backgrounds of potential workers. On the list are 142 workers from Glasgow, Clydebank and Dumbarton, 53 from Ayrshire, 51 from Edinburgh, and 28 from Aberdeen.

 The Consulting Association had links with police and security services. Construction industry directors were addressed by a "key officer" from the National Extremism Tactical Co-ordination Unit (Netcu), a Huntingdon-based police organisation set up to counter "extremist" protest groups.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Depressed Scotland

The number of people in Scotland prescribed antidepressants has reached record levels, with more than one in seven people taking the drugs. There has been a steady rise in usage. There were 1.26 million drugs dispensed in 1993/94, increasing to 5.01 million in 2011/12.

The diagnostic criteria for depression as two weeks of low mood, irrespective of any change in the circumstances of the patient which might have left them feeling down. It even proposes that being low two weeks after bereavement should be considered depression.

Glasgow GP Des Spence argues treating depression like a medical condition is distracting attention from what really makes patients unhappy. "I think we use antidepressants too easily, for too long and that they are effective for few people (if at all)." Dr Spence's  concern about the widespread use of antidepressants is they leave the real reason for someone's poor mood unexplained. He said: "Improving society's wellbeing is not in the gift of medicine nor mere medication, and over-prescribing of antidepressants serves as distraction from a wider debate about why we are so unhappy as a society."




Wednesday, January 02, 2013

A happy new year?

A third of young people in Scotland feel down or depressed either always or often, a youth charity claimed. 

One in ten young people feels unable to cope with day-to-day life.

28 per cent of young people believe their prospects have been permanently damaged by the recession.

21 per cent feel they have no  future as a result of the economic crisis.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The old and the lonely

10,000 over-75s in Scotland will spend Christmas Day alone because their children are too busy to visit them, a new report claimed today. Across the UK, the survey found a total of 363,176 older people had children too busy to see them. The study by the older people’s charity WRVS said many elderly people were left isolated and lonely because their families had moved away, often to find work. But almost two-thirds of older people said they would not tell their children they were lonely because they did not want to “bother them”. In the Lothians, around 1700 over-75s will be on their own on Christmas Day.

Earlier research from the WRVS showed 27 per cent of Scots over-75s feel lonely – more than in any other part of the UK. 11 per cent of older people in Scotland lived at least one hour’s drive away from their nearest child, which meant almost half were visited just once every two to six months. The survey found lack of job security and changes in the labour market had increased the pressure on families, with 82 per cent of children who moved away from their older parents having done so for work reasons. Margaret Paterson, head of operations for WRVS Scotland, said: “Many children have no choice but to move away from their older parents, and really regret the fact they aren’t close enough for more regular visits.”

Only 28 per cent of older people in Scotland spoke to their children on the phone every day, compared with 40 per cent across the UK. Most older people did not use Skype to talk to their children, many because they did not know how BUT OF those who do 85 per cent said it helped them feel more connected. The regularity of Skype in Scotland is that 75 per cent of those who use Skype do so weekly,

A separate report warned lonely people are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s. Researchers found it was not so much the fact of living alone as feelings of loneliness which increased the risk of having the degenerative brain disease.

Meanwhile average train fares have increased by more than 26 per cent since the start of the recession, almost three times faster than wages, new research revealed today, making even harder for families to visit. Fare rises will outpace wages and inflation again in 2013, with the cost of some fares set to soar by ten per cent, while pay is forecast to rise by an average of 2.5 per cent.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Keeping up with the Jones and suicide

It turns out trying to keep up with the Joneses can lead to your own death.

The more money your neighbors make, the more likely you are to take your own life. These findings come from a new paper published at the San Francisco Federal Reserve titled “Relative Status and Well-Being: Evidence from U.S. Suicide Deaths.” According to the results, your risk of suicide increases by 4.5 percent if your own paycheck is less than 10 percent of your county’s average income.

When looking at income levels and increased risk of suicide, Fed researchers found that $34,000 is the tipping point for dramatic increases in rates of suicide. Those who earn less than $34,000 see an increased risk of suicide of about 43 to 50 percent. Meanwhile, those with incomes between $34,000 and $102,000 increase their risk of suicide by only 10 percent. It’s not surprising to hear that those who are unemployed or unable to work due to disability face higher rates of suicide. Those who are unemployed increase their risk of suicide by 72 percent.

When considering the nation as a whole, low-income individuals tend to have a higher risk of suicide. This would lead you to believe that low-income counties have a higher risk of suicide, yet the Fed study shows the opposite. Since high-income counties tend to have larger disparities in income, wealthier counties—not poorer—often see an increased risk of suicide when factoring income of victims relative to their peers. Another way to think of it may be the more you compare your wealth to your neighbors, the harder it is to feel content with what you have.

Marx long ago wrote that "A house may be large or small; as long as the neighboring houses are likewise small, it satisfies all social requirement for a residence. But let there arise next to the little house a palace, and the little house shrinks to a hut. The little house now makes it clear that its inmate has no social position at all to maintain."

Friday, October 19, 2012

Capitalism drives us mental


Scots are suffering more mental health problems because of the economic downturn, according to the largest ever study on the subject. Living in the most deprived areas of Scotland places people at a higher risk of poor mental health, researchers concluded.

A report published by NHS Health Scotland today examines more than 50 indicators which help make up a picture of the nation's mental health, covering factors such as working life and community, chronic physical health problems and misuse of alcohol or drugs. 42 indicated a direct link between greater socio-economic disadvantage and a poorer state of mental health. Only two were more prevalent in better-off areas than poor areas – drinking outside the recommended limits and overwork. Alcohol intake is excessive across the classes, but it causes more health problems in deprived areas.

Andrew Fraser, director of Public Health Science said problems were likely to worsen in a context of austerity. He added: "We can reliably expect these indicators to worsen if deprivation and inequality widen."

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Fact of the Day

Men from low socio-economic backgrounds living in deprived areas are ten times more likely to die by suicide than men from high socio-economic backgrounds living in the most affluent areas.

 Read more at: http://medicalxpress.com/news/2012-09-uk-middle-aged-men-die-suicide.html#jCp

Thursday, July 19, 2012

scotland's health shame

Scotland's suicide rate is almost 80% higher than England and Wales. More people die by suicide than from road accidents and drug deaths put together. It is the leading cause of death in young men. Over the past year, Tayside Police has collected information about every call where someone was at risk of suicide. It attended about 150 attempted or threatened suicides every month. On average, four suicide deaths a month in just Tayside.

 Detective Chief Inspector Gordon Milne said of the figures: "Extend that out across the whole of Scotland; there is a significant number of calls every day, every week, every month, every year, involving people who are in mental health crisis."

The mental health charity SAMH said even these latest figures from Tayside were still just the tip of the iceberg. Kirsty Keay, the charity's national programme manager for suicide prevention, said: "Suicide devastates Scotland's communities..."

A quarter of patients who end up in intensive care in Scotland have drink problems, most with chronic alcohol disease. The study of 771 patients across all 24 intensive care units published by the Anaesthesia medical journal, said many young and less well off people were affected.

Dr Timothy Geary
, an anaesthetic registrar at Glasgow's Victoria Infirmary and report co-author, said: "Alcohol disease adversely affects the outcome of critically ill patients and the burden of this in Scotland is higher than elsewhere in the UK." He added: "In Scotland, the frequency and volume of alcohol consumed is significantly higher than in the rest of the UK, as is the proportion of people with hazardous drinking habits. This corresponds to higher death rates, particularly for Scottish men, but only indicates a fraction of the deaths attributed to alcohol."

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

working class blues

Job insecurity is nothing new for those on the lower rungs of the economic ladder. Since the '70s and '80s, a shifting labor market and anti-worker policies have been fraying the ties between employers and employees, fueling the perception that a job is a temporary affair. Globalization, outsourcing, contracting, downsizing, and recession have conspired to make confidence in a stable, long-term job a privilege that few can enjoy. But the recession has raised the numbers experiencing persistent job insecurity through the roof. Workers are feeling increasingly stressed, often trapped in low-wage and temporary employment with few benefits.

Capitalism wasn’t supposed to be like this. Hard work and endeavor was supposed to make us safe from the vagaries of arbitrary events that harassed our ancestors. But somehow we’ve ended up more worried than ever. American Psychological Association paints a picture of workers on the verge of a nervous breakdown:
    Sixty-two percent say work has a significant impact on their stress levels.
    Almost 50 percent indicate their stress levels have increased between 2007 and 2008.
    Forty-five percent of workers say job insecurity has a significant impact on stress levels.

Anxiety disorders now plague 18 percent of the U.S. adult population –- 40 million people. The drug alprazolam — familiar by its brand name, Xanax — was prescribed 46.3 million times in 2010, making it that year’s bestselling psychiatric drug. Prozac, the happiness-and-optimism pill, has been pushed aside by a medication meant to just help you get through the day.

Humans are pretty good at coping with bursts of pressure, but chronic uncertainty is different. Anticipating a major stressful event can be worse than the actual occurrence itself, research shows. We’re paralyzed by powerlessness and to compensate we pile on more work than we can handle. We don’t take sick days when we need them. We start fueling up on coffee and cigarettes and alcohol, and dropping the things that are good for us, like leisure activities and trips to the gym. Under chronic stress, our immune systems start to buckle from “over-responsivity.” The worst effects of pervasive job insecurity—on health, family, society—take time to incubate. Some of the signs are just now becoming visible. If this constant assault on our well-being goes on much longer, its effects may linger for decades.

Authors of a recent study in Michigan found that insecure workers were significantly more likely to meet criteria for major or minor depression and to report a recent anxiety attack, even after taking into consideration factors like race, education, poorer prior health, and higher likelihood of recent unemployment. Conclusion: Many of those who have managed to hang onto their jobs during the Great Recession are getting mentally and physically wrecked – often more so than those who have lost their jobs. The study found that chronic job insecurity was a stronger predictor of poor health than either smoking or hypertension. Months, even years, are shaved off of life expectancy. There’s no question that job insecurity is eroding our quality of life. And its prolonged effects can lead to coronary heart disease and even cancer.

Suicide rates are known to increase during economic downturns, and middle-age workers are especially vulnerable. Last year, suicide rates were at an all-time high in Connecticut, fueled by a sharp increase in rates among middle-age men. Middle-aged workers may still have plenty to offer, but employers often consider them used goods. In an economy with sky-high youth joblessness, employers know that there are young, inexperienced people that can be paid little and exploited at will. The jobs of older workers may be “restructured,” the pace sped up, the pay reduced.

When you don’t know whether your job will be around next year, or even next week, how do you plan for the future? What happens to dreams like buying a home? Going to university? Retirement? In the face of job insecurity, thoughts of any of these things bring instant panic instead of hopeful planning. Unlike losing a job, the fear of losing the job you have is not a discrete, socially visible event. Your course of action isn’t clear because you don’t know whether or how the job loss will occur. Things like unemployment insurance weren’t meant for your situation. There’s no intervention mechanism. You may become paranoid at work – and for good reason. Some managers have been known to try to get employees to quit so that they don’t have to pay for unemployment insurance.

The apologists for capitalism tell us that employers need maximum flexibility to hire and fire so that wealth can be created for all but for many of us premature death is often our only reward.

Adapted from here

Worth a look at is the blog on individual deaths related to welfare reform 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A real drug problem

More than one in 10 adults in Scotland are taking anti-depressants every day, according to official statistics.

Ten years ago it was estimated that 6% of the Scottish population were regularly taking anti-depressants and this figure has been climbing for a decade. NHS Scotland said: “It is estimated that 10.4% of the Scottish population aged 15 and over make daily use of an anti-depressant drug.”

Billy Watson, chief executive at the Scottish Association for Mental Health, said: “The high numbers of people taking anti-depressants reflects the prevalence of mental health problems generally: one in four of us will experience a mental health problem at some point in our lives."

The Scottish Government’s goal, to stop the rise in anti-depressant prescribing by 2009-10 and prepare the ground for a 10% reduction in future years, has been abandoned. It has been replaced by a waiting time guarantee for psychological therapies of 18 weeks by 2014.

A survey carried out jointly by the Office of National Statistics and the Institute of Psychiatry found that children from poorer families are three times more likely to suffer from some kind of mental disorder.

The transport system is in chaos. The health service is crumbling. Schools have become testing factories. Pollution is rife and the environment under attack. The poor have got poorer. Begging and homelessness have spread. Crime is rising. Racism is reviving. Business culture reigns supreme, with “market forces”, “competition” and “profit” as the buzz-words. Life is becoming more and more commercialised and empty. People are becoming isolated from each other, so should we be surprised that mental illness is on the increase?

Some might say the standard of living may be going up, but the standard of life is most definitely going down.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

It's a sad society

According to the Depression ­Alliance Scotland, 16% of Scots will be diagnosed with depression at some point in their lives.Around one in 10 Scots is believed to be taking antidepressants at any one time, but the figures show some areas are more likely to dispense them than others.

People in Glasgow are 50% more likely than those in Edinburgh to be prescribed antidepressants. The NHS handed out mood-enhancing medicines 1,145,381 times in Greater Glasgow and Clyde last year, compared to 521,944 in Lothian.

Dumfries and Galloway, Lanarkshire and Ayrshire and Arran were the next biggest users relative to population.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

sleepless nights


Three out of four workers are losing sleep worrying about job security, performance at work and finances, with civil servants, bankers and factory workers the worst affected.

Leigh McCarron, sleep director at Travelodge, said: “It is no surprise that those industries facing spending cuts and potential job losses came top. Job security and money worries are key drivers of stress.”

Friday, April 30, 2010

Children at risk ?

A series of studies published reveals child poverty may be more serious for many families than had been previously believed.the Scottish government's latest estimate is that 20% of children live below the low-income threshold ( calculated at £17,000 a year for two adults living with two children or £13,000 for a lone parent with two children.)

But researchers on the Growing Up in Scotland programme, which has been tracking children of 8,000 families since 2005, said the figure was actually higher-they calculate it at 24%.It showed that children growing up in poverty are more likely to be obese, suffer more accidents and injuries, and are more than twice as likely to suffer behavioural, emotional and social problems.Also found was that a third of Scottish mothers suffered mental health problems in the last four years.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

recession is bad for your mental health

First discussed here , we now read that the UK government are now going to finance similar therapy services in England to help identify those who might be suffering from depression due to the downturn. Support workers will help those who have lost their jobs and suffer from depression and anxiety .
The BBC's Mark Sanders said the announcement was, in effect, an acknowledgement by the government that mental health problems could be caused by the recession.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

capitalism makes you sick


Long working hours may raise the risk of mental decline and possibly dementia, research suggests

The study found that those working more than 55 hours a week had poorer mental skills than those who worked a standard working week.
Lead researcher Dr Marianna Virtanen, from the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, said: "The disadvantages of overtime work should be taken seriously."


It is not known why working long hours might have an adverse effect on the brain. However, the researchers say key factors could include increased sleeping problems, depression, an unhealthy lifestyle and a raised risk of cardiovascular disease, possibly linked to stress. The effects were cumulative, the longer the working week was the worse the test results were. Employees with long working hours also had shorter sleeping hours, reported more symptoms of depression and used more alcohol than those with normal working hours.


Professor Mika Kivimäki said "It is particularly important to examine whether the effects are long-lasting and whether long working hours predict more serious conditions such as dementia."


Professor Cary Cooper, an expert in workplace stress at the University of Lancaster, said it had been long established that consistently working long hours was bad for general health, and now this study suggested it was also bad for mental functioning.

"But my worry is that in a recession people will actually work longer hours. There will be a culture of "presenteeism" - people will go to work even if they are ill because they want to show commitment, and make sure they are not the next to be made redundant."


Harriet Millward, deputy chief executive of the Alzheimer's Research Trust, said: "This study should give pause for thought to workaholics..."

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