Health risks of unemployment more pronounced for men, says report

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Unemployment poses significant risks to mental health, with men twice as likely to suffer from problems than women, according to a report released by The Work Foundation.

The paper, Sick of Being Unemployed, has been compiled in conjunction with charity Men's Health Forum. 

It suggests that between 2008 and 2010 there were 800 male suicides directly linked to the recession, compared to 155 for women. 

The report claims this is related to the 2.5 million men made redundant in the UK during the economic downturn. This is part of a wider trend of decreasing male employment in the UK. According to the paper, male employment has fallen from 91.6% in 1973 to 77.6% in 2014. 

Other health problems men face in the early stages of unemployment include musculoskeletal issues and problems related to self-destructive behaviour, such as excessive drinking. The report also claims men from lower socio-economic backgrounds and who had unstable roles before becoming unemployed are at particular risk. 

Martin Tod, chief executive of the Men's Health Forum, said the report shows that "unemployment makes men sick".

"Of course, unemployment doesn't just affect men, but the effect on health appears to be much greater among men than among women," he said. "The Government must look at how ill-health in unemployed men could be prevented."

Jenny Gulliford, research and policy officer at The Work Foundation and lead author of the report, agreed that men suffer greater ill-health due to unemployment, "especially in the short-term".

"A more innovative approach to tackling the health of unemployed men is needed," she said. "This includes taking action at an earlier stage. A joined-up approach from Jobcentres and other agencies must be taken to improve both the health and employment outcomes for men.”

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