This seems to contradict the work of Christopher Ruhm and Eric Neumayer (pdf) who have estimated that recessions lead to lower death rates.
But only seems. In one important sense, Sarferaz and Reichmuth corroborate these findings, by showing that recessions do reduce deaths among older workers.
There’s an obvious possible explanation for this difference. Older workers might benefit from recession because it prompts them to downshift, or just reduces their workload, thus reducing their exposure to stress-related illnesses such as heart disease. But younger people aren’t especially vulnerable to these in the first place, and so don’t gain. Instead, unemployment - which usually is more cyclical among younger workers than older ones - tempts some of them into risky behaviours such as drug-taking or gang membership.
This poses an awkward ethical problem for macroeconomic stabilization policy. Such policies, if successful, save the lives of younger people but jeopardize those of older ones. And the absence of such policies has the opposite effect.