UK: Sharp Rise in Suicide and other Mental Health Problems
Leading economist warns about the rise of deaths due to suicide, and alcohol and other drug abuse. These health issues are now causing more death in middle aged people than heart disease.
Sir Angus Deaton, a Nobel Prize-winning economist along with Anne Case and the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), conducted an analysis on suicide, alcohol related illnesses and drug abuse or what they term ‘deaths of despair’. They found these health issues are on the rise in the UK similar to the trend seen in the U.S.
Deaths of despair
Deaths of despair is only second to cancer deaths in the UK.
Among Britons aged 45 to 54 the number of deaths of despair (per 100,000 people) has risen from just over 20 in 1993 to 43 in 2017. That is higher than the number of deaths caused by heart disease in that age group. Because of this trend the death rate for middle aged people, which was declining through the 90s and 2000s is now on the rise.
Sir Angus Deaton warns that the UK is on the path of experiencing a similar health and socio-economic crisis as can be witnessed in the U.S.
In the UK there may be a lot of despair.
Blackpool seems to be one of the hotspots for this, the North East in general. This makes sense: these are places which have been left behind,” said Sir Angus Deaton, economist and author of the report, as per, Sky News.
The UK may suffer less than America from deaths of despair because there is a national health service and fewer opioid prescriptions. However for many economists the phenomenon is further evidence of the forces which have fuelled alienation, isolation and a widespread frustration with the establishment on both sides of the Atlantic – and the vicious cycle perpetuated by alcohol and other drugs.