New MS Register data gives insight into employment and depression levels
Published date: 10 Aug 2012 at 10:26AM
The UK MS Register, launched in May 2011, has published its first set of data.
The research shows that the number people with MS who are in employment is much lower than the general population, and about half experience anxiety or depression.
Employment levels low
Researchers looked at the percentage of people with MS who were in employment, compared to the general UK population (of a working age). The data showed:
- 42% of people were in employment 0 – 4 years after diagnosis
- 27% were after 5 – 9 years
- 16% were after 10 – 14 years
- 8% were after 15 – 19 years
- 4% were after 20 – 24 years
- 2% were after 25 – 29 years
- 1% were after 30 years or more
Many people with MS are not working, but we know from previous research that many currently unemployed people with MS would like to return to work.
We also know that with the right support people who wish to could remain in work much longer. This is exactly why we need this data – to campaign for more support for people with MS.
Anxiety and depression common
We know from previous studies that people with MS and other long term chronic conditions experience higher levels of anxiety and depression.
These studies were often small, and carried out in countries other than the UK, but the Swansea team used data from over 4,000 people in the UK who had joined the MS Register.
Results showed that half of all people on the MS Register experience anxiety or depression.
The researchers also found that women with relapsing-remitting MS were the most likely to be anxious. Depression is higher in progressive forms of MS; whereas anxiety is higher in relapsing-remitting MS.
These high levels highlight the unmet emotional needs of people with MS. MS Society funded research has shown that psychological interventions, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), can help people with MS and should be considered in healthcare planning.
What is the MS Register?
The MS Register was launched in May 2011, a joint venture between Swansea University and the MS Society. The project aims to revolutionise our understanding of MS and how it impacts on people’s lives.
Over 9,000 people with MS have already joined the online web portal, and the first findings have now been published.
Have you joined yet?
Be part of shaping MS research for the future. More people are still needed to join the MS Register if it is to achieve its full potential.
"We hope this information from the MS Register will be a powerful tool for stimulating new research projects, as well as campaigning for the right services for people living with MS in the UK."Ed Holloway, head of care and services research