Unemployment & Mental Health
Unemployment, something everyone who claims to be a student, tries to deny. For most of the people around, everything that we need is mostly provided by employment. This includes financial security, decent social status and many other things. These needs range from physical ones to psychological needs. It is only when we lose employment do we realize how big a role it plays in our life.
Unemployment & The Effects
After the global recession of 2008, there were large scale layoffs in companies across the globe. USA was the worst hit country and this led to a huge economic crisis on a global level. Another unforeseen consequence of this was elevated working hours for the physicians in UK.
People were finding it hard to cope with the shame and stress associated with unemployment. Even the prisons found themselves at almost full capacity. Crime rates increased as people decided to resort to illegal means to meet their needs. This was mostly observed in developing nations.
Some people even committed petty crimes to go to jail. They said prisons provided a stable accommodation and food. These were two things that were hard to find in times of unemployment.
Unemployment & Mental Health
Two scientists, Kals and Cobb have done a lot of work into the effect of losing a job on the health of a person. They mainly focused on physical health but had also taken into account the mental aspects of well being. The interesting observation was that people who are re-employed have lower levels of stress and strain then people had never lost their jobs in the first place.
A job helps us satisfy our creative urges, promotes self esteem and provides opportunities for achievement and self realization. This makes the tendency that when a person is ‘dismissed’ or ‘fired’, that they struggle with low self esteem and inhibited social skills understandable. It is expected to increase anxiety and depression.
It could also lead to physical consequences if the pursuit of a job fails over a long period of time. A place of employment helps us settle in a routine and keeps our mind distracted. I won’t say that a depressed person would be cured if they had a job but I am saying that a person who has a job is less likely to suffer from MDD or an anxiety disorder.
Social support also has been found to have an effect on the unemployed. People who were supported by close ones and friends during times of unemployment had lower levels of depression and anxiety.
People often try to solve a lack of social support by visiting physicians or psychologists. Doctors hence aren’t always curing physical or mental illnesses. Sometimes they end up being channels to vent the stress of a person.
In socialist countries, basic universal income is an economic norm. It was found that a universal income does reduce the financial stresses of an individual but it cannot fulfil the psychological needs of the human mind.
In developing nations, lack of employment remains a huge burden on the work force. There are contributions of the crumbling education system and government apathy here as well but the ultimate loser here is the individual.
Education, poverty, healthcare systems and even prison administrations are influenced by the rate of unemployment. Jobs and a lack of them affects many issues directly or indirectly. It is time we started tackling the issue straight on instead of playing petty politics over it.
Linn, M. W., Sandifer, R., & Stein, S. (1985). Effects of unemployment on mental and physical health. American Journal of Public Health, 75(5), 502-506.