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Recession, crime and mental health

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This article adopts a holistic approach to the complex interconnections between economic circumstances, crime and mental health. It reviews some of the criminological and economic literature on unemployment, property crime, health inequality and worker well-being. It stresses the explanatory importance both of adopting a chronological approach to people’s experience of economic circumstances relative to others and of pursuing economic remedies on two levels: individually (investment in mental health treatment and protective strategies) and at a societal level (avoidance of strategies that will increase unemployment etc). Four conclusions are drawn: first, criminologists should strive to enhance links within and across disciplines; second, that injecting resources into protective strategies may be significantly more cost effective than merely punishing individual offenders; third, that the economic and personal consequences of these issues are sufficiently serious to make this task urgent; and finally, that current economic circumstances should make such proposals irresistible.

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