16/03/2016

People Living Near Peace Lines More Likely To Have Poor Mental Health - Research

People living close to peace lines in Northern Ireland are more likely to suffer from poor mental health, according to new research.

The study, conducted by Queen's University, indicates that living in an area in close proximity to a segregation barrier, or peace line, increases a person's likelihood of being on antidepressant medication by 19% and on anxiolytic medication, which inhibits anxiety, by 39%.
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Lead researcher Dr Aideen Maguire from Queen's Centre for Public Health, said: "Neighbourhood segregation is known to be a fundamental determinant of physical health, but its effects on mental health are less clear. Northern Ireland is unique as it contains physical manifestations of segregation, in the form of dividing walls separating two religious communities.

"Mental health among those living at peace lines is a major concern, with more than one in five individuals living there receiving antidepressant medication compared to one in eight in the rest of the population. After adjustment for other factors likely to affect mental health - including levels of deprivation, population density and crime - those living in peace line areas are 19 per cent more likely to be prescribed antidepressant medication and 39 per cent more likely to be prescribed medication for anxiety, compared to those people living in other similar areas with no segregation barriers."

(CD/MH)

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