On COVID-19, the economy, mental health, and suicide

If you have ten minutes to spare, here is an audio recording from my remarks at last week’s annual conference of the Psychological Society of Ireland:

I was speaking on a panel on the psychological impact of COVID-19. The panel itself arose from a PSI policy statement issued in August, which I helped to prepare.

In this extract I speak about the impact of COVID-19 on the economy, and how the resulting recession can be expected to impact on the population’s mental health. Past research provides some worrying lessons about the psychological impact of economic recessions, especially a recurring statistical association between unemployment and suicide rates.

Below I have provided links to the sources I cited.

I hope you have time to have a listen, and to consider these important issues.

As part of the panel discussion, I also spent some time discussing the research on the impact of disasters and emergencies on mental health. I will post a recording of these remarks later. Stay tuned

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Sources:

ESRI Quarterly Economic Commentary, Autumn 2020

“Mental health outcomes in times of economic recession: A systematic literature review” — Frasquilho et al. (2016), BMC Public Health

“Effects of the 2008 recession on health: A first look at European data” — Stuckler et al. (2011), The Lancet

“Suicides associated with the 2008-10 economic recession in England: Time trend analysis” — Barr et al. (2012), BMJ

“Warm Front Better Health: Health Impact Evaluation of the Warm Front Scheme” — Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research (2004)

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