Adult Learning Benefits Depression and Anxiety Sufferers

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Spending cuts to the adult leaning sector in the UK will prove a false economy according to The Mental Health Foundation.

They believe that the cuts will be counterproductive in tackling mental health issues in UK society.

There is grounding in their statement with evidence emerging from recent research that there is a significant improvement amongst sufferers of depression and anxiety through their attendance of adult learning courses.

Prevalent Mental Disorders

Anxiety and depression are by far the most prevalent mental disorders in the region. This of course has the result of a large duress being placed on the economy, along with the wellbeing of the population.

The latest stats report that 9% of adults suffer from mixed anxiety or depression. This 9% does not include a further 7.7% of the population who suffer from either general anxiety or have been diagnosed with some depression symptoms.

Economic Hit

Each year the economy suffers a loss of productivity as a result of this issue, with one fifth of all days lost to work due to the conditions. It is these statistics that the Mental Health Foundation are using to back up their plea for the use of good judgement in the austerity measures being put in place.

It has been determined in the aforementioned study learning for life that adult learning programmes demonstrated the effect of reducing depression and anxiety symptoms in adult students with the conditions, by 26% for depression sufferers and 22% for anxiety sufferers.

Even Better

When a follow up survey of participants took place, even more tremendous results were realised from the adult learning programs, with depression symptoms plummet reaching 35% and 31% respectively. This was against the levels which showed pre-commencement of the courses.

Necessity or Luxury?

The head of policy of the Mental Health Foundation Simon Lawton-Smith has gone on to state that the government are demonstrating that adult learning is not a necessity but a luxury. He pointed to the study Learning for Life findings’ to support his belief that they are very much a necessity.

It is demonstrated therein the real value of the courses, in benefitting those with mental health issues. He believes that if the cuts go ahead, there will be not only economic costs associated but human ones as well.

The implications of Learning for Life according to one of the lead authors Dr Dan Robatham is that the adult learning programmes can be very beneficial to combating both mild and moderate depression. It is possible here because there is no stigma attached to participation unlike in the traditional forms of treatment.


This cut is just one of a series of cuts right across the board in Britain. Those cuts will be inflicted on the Health Service also, which will be required to make enhanced efficiencies. It has been noted when austerity measures such as these were applied in the past, that patient health suffered, and many who needed assistance were denied assistance.


Whilst it is difficult for Government to look at the future benefits in economic terms, to keeping the adult learning initiatives in place at their current funding levels, it is fortunate that the recent study’s outcomes are there to help drive home the point.

That point being that there is a distinct economic advantage to keeping the levels at the point where they are, as a result of less work days lost and subsequent tax losses to the Exchequer as a result of depression.

So too, less depressed people means a decrease of drain on the limited medical resources in the United Kingdom, cuts of this manner are indeed a false economy. A statement from the Government in response to the argument has as yet not been made.

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