Page last updated at 19:26 GMT, Wednesday, 27 October 2010 20:26 UK

Labour MP warns on 'tragic impact' of recession

Labour MP Madeleine Moon has raised concerns that the increased levels of personal debt, bankruptcy, homelessness and unemployment associated with recessions can substantially increase the incidence of suicide and self harm.

"In the past few months, the House has debated public spending cuts, job losses and and the scaling back of services, but the human and personal costs are often forgotten among the facts, figures and policies, with a profound and tragic impact on individual lives and families," she said, opening a Commons debate on 27 October 2010.

The Bridgend MP cited a recent survey by the mental health charity Mind that showed that 1 in 10 workers have approached their GP as a direct result of the recession, mostly for depression.

She called on the government to make suicide prevention a priority of its public health policy.

Health minster Paul Burstow, replying for the government, confirmed that ministers would publish a new suicide prevention strategy for England in the new year.

Mr Burstow said that the new strategy would contain measures to support high-risk groups and would look at restricting access to some of the methods people use to self-harm or commit suicide.

"We are committed to mending the psychological as well as the economic scars of the past recession; improving mental health services, promoting greater community resilience to mental illness, and doing much more to help unemployed people regain their confidence and return to work," he concluded.

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