People who live alone are more depressed

One-person households are 80 per cent more likely to have at-risk mental health

Lonely - Marie Claire - Marie Claire UK
Lonely - Marie Claire - Marie Claire UK
(Image credit: Rex Features)

One-person households are 80 per cent more likely to have at-risk mental health

If you are working age and you live alone you have an 80 per cent higher chance of developing depression, according to new study.

The report, by the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, highlights the growth in the number of one-person households, with one in every three people in the US and UK living alone. Isolation is a major contributor to poor mental health, it says, along with poor housing conditions and lack of social support.

The growth in single person households has an evident effect on the nation’s mental health, says Beth Murphey, head of information at mental health charity, Mind.

‘Loneliness and isolation results in people having fewer outlets to talk about how they are feeling, which is something that we know can really help to manage and recover from a mental health problem,’ says Murphey.

The researchers tracked anti-depressant use in 3,500 Finnish people, 1,695 men and 1,776 women with an average age of 44.6 years, over an eight-year time period. They also gathered their lifestyle information, such as work, education, income, housing conditions, alcohol/smoking habits, etc.

The study found that people living alone took 80 per cent more anti-depressants than their counterparts.

But despite the strong research, Dr. Laura Pulkki-Raback, who led the research, says the study is likely to have underestimated the real risk.

‘The people who are at the most risk tend to be people who are least likely to complete the follow up,’ says Pulkki-Raback. ‘We were also not able to judge how common untreated depression was.’


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