Unemployment 'can lead to depression'

Unemployment and money problems are among the main causes of depression, it has been claimed. Andy Bell, Chief Executive of the Centre for Mental Health, said the condition is very common and instances can increase during times of economic uncertainty.

The representative noted depression can be wide-ranging and personal to the individual, adding it can often have its roots in adverse life events.

"It has many causes and it is very common at any time, whatever the economic situation. One of the well-known risk factors for depression is unemployment," he explained.

Mr Bell observed that the condition is particularly prevalent at the moment due to the high numbers of people who are currently out of work.

He added, however, that both the previous government and now the Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition are committed to increasing the availability of psychological therapies for those with depression.

Professor David Fryer, Chartered Psychologist and Fellow of the British Psychological Society said: "International cross sectional research has convincingly demonstrated that not only are unemployed people more likely to be depressed than otherwise similar employed people but longitudinal research has also persuaded most researchers in the field that unemployment causes depression and other negative psychological consequences."

"However, unemployment is only one of many socio-economic causes of depression and other forms of psychological distress."

"Employment which is insecure or stressful in many other ways, relative poverty and inequality are also psychologically damaging and all, of course, are direct consequences of current government policies."

"As well as reactively taking government money to provide therapies to people whose psychological well-being has been damaged by government policies, psychologists should engage in preventative intervention by proactively lobbying government to abandon policies which clearly cause depression and instead develop socio-economic policies designed to promote public mental health."

One man in the limelight to recently admit his battles with the condition was Ricky Hatton, who noted he has struggled to come to terms with the end of his boxing career.