Stress Map and Disease

 Solid Fact

An unhealthy material environment and unhealthy behaviour have direct harmful effects, but the worries and insecurities of daily life and the lack of supportive environments also have an influence. Social and economic factors at all levels in society affect individual decisions and health itself.

Good health involves reducing levels of educational failure, the amount of job insecurity and the scale of income differences in society.

Such psychosocial risks accumulate during life and increase the chances of poor mental health and premature death. Long periods of anxiety and insecurity and the lack of supportive friendships are damaging in whatever area of life they arise.

Poor nutrition and physical development adversely affect the child’s cognitive development. In addition, the mental exhaustion and depression associated with poverty reduce the parents’ stimulation of the child, and can disrupt emotional attachment.

Processes of social exclusion and the extent of relative deprivation in a society have a major impact on health and premature death. The harm to health comes not only from material deprivation but also from the social and psychological problems of living in poverty.

Policy to aim health and development early in may includes:

Legislation can help protect the rights of migrants and minority groups, and prevent discrimination.

  1. Public health interventions should remove barriers to access to health care, social services and affordable housing.
  2. Income support, adequate national minimum wages and educational and employment policies are needed to reduce social exclusion.
  3. Income and wealth should be redistributed to reduce material inequalities and the scale of relative poverty; more egalitarian societies tend to have higher standards of health.

Having little control over one’s work is particularly strongly related to an increased risk of low back pain, sickness absence and cardiovascular disease.

Unemployment puts health at risk, and the risk is higher in regions where unemployment is widespread.

Social support and good social relations make an important contribution to health. Social support helps give people the emotional and practical resources they need.

Drug use is both a response to social breakdown and an important factor in worsening the resulting inequalities in health. It offers users a mirage of escape from adversity and stress, but only makes their problems worse.