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Unemployment & Mental Health: How Job Loss Could Impact Your Mental Health

Unemployment & Mental Health: How Job Loss Could Impact Your Mental Health

What someone does for a living can be a huge part of their life.  It is one of the first questions people ask when trying to get to know someone and it’s how most of us spend the better half of our days. Although not everyone loves their job, where you work and what you are doing can have a big impact on your well-being.  

The Benefits of Having A Job

Although some people struggle to get out of bed during the workweek or are quick to say they would quit their job if they won the lottery, jobs can be good for you. Some of the benefits of having a job may include:

  • Having a sense of purpose
  • More financial security
  • Having a routine
  • More independence
  • Meeting new people
  • Challenging yourself
  • Exercising your brain
  • Keeping you busy

These benefits can quickly add up and have a positive influence on your mental well-being, but the effects of unemployment on mental health can be just as impactful, only negatively.  

The Mental Effects of Unemployment & Job Loss

Even if you do not love your job, it may be better than the alternative. In fact, the impact of unemployment on mental health can be substantial and have lasting implications. Unemployment and mental health struggles often coincide. One study even found that people of working age who are unemployed long-term are twice as likely to suffer from mental illness as people who are employed. Depression and anxiety were found to be particularly common among this unemployed group.1 In some cases, the emotional implications caused by unemployment were also thought to lead to physical health problems. In a study, unemployed men went to the physician five times more than their employed counterparts and took twice as many medications. This increase in apparent physical health problems was present even though the number of diagnosed illnesses was the same between the two groups. Not surprisingly, more physician visits were connected to higher rates of depression and anxiety as well.2 In other cases, this poor mental health from unemployment may also lead to substance use and addiction as the person turns to drugs or alcohol to  cope. Eventually, dual diagnosis treatment may be necessary to help the person. Historically, some psychologists suggest that the negative emotional effects of unemployment were caused by hindered psychosocial development as well as feelings of helplessness brought on by lack of control.3 Other factors such as decreased self-esteem, lowered standard of living, and lack of purpose may also play a role. Whatever the reason, the correlation between job loss and mental health issues should not be ignored. If you or a loved one is struggling, do not wait to get help. Unemployment and mental health troubles are often connected, and you are not alone. Formal mental health care could be what you need to make it through this challenging time. At Vertava Health, we are here for you. Contact us today.