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New relationships essential for widows

New relationships essential for widows
14th December 2011

Getting into a new relationship is important for the mental health of male widows, a new study suggests.

Researchers at the Sahlgrenska Academy in Sweden found that men who have lost their partner to cancer and are still single four to five years later are at a far greater risk of developing mental illness than those who find love again.

The study builds on research suggesting that those who have lost loved ones have more chance of dying themselves – often through broken heart syndrome - or developing mental and physical illness.

However, the Sahlgrenska Academy study focuses on long term effects on mental health of losing a loved one, compared to its predecessors that have documented short term risks.

Professor Gunnar Steineck, collaborator on the study, stated: “Our study is the first to show that the risk of poor mental health last for many years but, on the average, the risk is restricted to those who don't find a new partner."

It was found that building a life with a new partner was a key factor in coping with loss, while remaining single often lead to depression, anxiety, sleep disorders and emotional blunting.

Read about support and personalised care at Barchester care homes for anyone with mental health concerns.