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Unemployment and mental health
  1. Simon Øverland
  1. Correspondence to Simon Øverland, Department of Health Promotion, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Postboks 973 Sentrum, 5808 BERGEN, Norway; simon.overland{at}

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This edition of the Occupational and Environmental Medicine includes an analysis of the link between unemployment benefits and purchased prescription drugs, and to what extent the two tended to co-occur over a 6-year period.1 The authors show that an incident prescription of a psychotropic drug was twofold to threefold more likely to occur close to a period of unemployment than the same individual's risk when unemployment was not an issue. This relationship was stronger for men, more pronounced for psychotropic drugs than other classes of prescription drugs, and was at its highest 1–3 months prior to onset of unemployment. The timing coincides with the notice period in Norway, where the study was carried out.

The results add to the well-established relationship between mental health and unemployment: on average, those who are involuntarily out of work have higher levels of psychological distress than those who have work. Previous systematic reviews conclude with a causal effect where becoming unemployed reduces mental …

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  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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