From Job Loss to Mental Distress: Unemployment Impacts on Mental Health

From Job Loss to Mental Distress: Unemployment Impacts on Mental Health

After the pandemic, the unemployment problem increased drastically. As the pandemic hit it not only affected the physical health being at home, or the mental health due to isolation but also affected the financial status of individuals. Many people who earned money on a daily basis faced a lot of issues. Even many companies fired many employees as the companies could not bear the salary of the employees. Many new startups also faced many issues. This made an impact on the mental health of many individuals due to problems in fulfilling their daily needs. But how does unemployment affect mental health?

Gender differences in unemployment:

We know that there is a high prevalence of unemployment and mental health issues in women. Due to the different job roles of men and women with respect to the labor market (Artazcoz et al., 2004). A study was conducted that focused on the gender differences which are seen in the effects of unemployment on mental health and the study was also concerned about does these effects have an association with interactions among gender, social class, and family roles (Artazcoz et al., 2004).

The study included 3881 employed participants as well as 638 unemployed participants. The range considered in the study was 25 to 64 years old. According to the study, unemployment had a more significant negative effect on men’s mental health than it did on women. It also showed that gender differences in effects have an association with family responsibilities and social class (Artazcoz et al., 2004).

Effects of unemployment over mental health:

Research was done to find out whether there is an impact on mental health due to unemployment and how. The results of the research suggested that an adverse effect can be seen on mental health due to unemployment. The adverse effect was seen on the psychological functions of the participants.

The participants were seen to be more anxious, in a depressive mood as well as showing physical symptoms (Linn et al., 1985). A person who is jobless and doesn’t have a stable source of money is far more likely to experience anxiety and sadness. Unemployed participants also showed increased depression, oftenly manifested bodily symptoms like loss of appetite, insomnia, loss of sexual interest, etc. It is anticipated that the pandemic will have an impact on a person’s sense of self. As lack of work can make the person limit their feelings of achievement, satisfaction, and accomplishment and enhance the guilt factor which reminds them of being unable to provide for their family. The individuals who had strong emotional support from family and friends had relatively higher self-esteem than those who did not (Linn et al., 1985).

Impact of coping strategies:

Numerous ongoing empirical investigations have shown that unemployment has a detrimental effect on health, including both mental and physical well-being. But studies have a research gap which is regarding the salutogenic factors which are concerns regarding well-being globally and coping strategies to reduce the damage to health (Mayer & Hollederer, 2021).

The study conducted focused on problem-centered guidelines with which they interviewed 21 unemployed people. To analyse the interviews, the researchers used qualitative content analysis. The study sought to have five themes which were relevant in coping with unemployment (Mayer & Hollederer, 2021). The five themes were:

  1. The Financial Situation
  2. Social Support and Psychosocial strains due to Family obligations
  3. Health Problems
  4. Time structure
  5. Coping Strategies

As per the participants shared social relationships or social interactions helped them a lot and had a great importance in coping with unemployment. Family and friends provide social support in a variety of ways, including emotional, practical, and informational help, according to Mayer and Holleder (2021).

Coping strategies to deal with unemployment:

These are some of the coping strategies to help deal with unemployment. The coping strategies are:

  • Allow yourself to feel grief: understand it is normal to feel your emotions. Give yourself time to adjust, express your feelings, write them down, and accept reality, avoid blaming yourself, imagine the job loss is a temporary setback.

  • Reach out to stay strong: This entails actively interacting with others, making new friends, joining clubs or organisations, building a network to help you find jobs, and taking part in community events.
  • Having your family beside you to support you: This means being open to your family, telling your concerns as well as listening to their concerns, being available for family and have fun with them.
  • Exploring new things to define yourself: This includes pursuing activities which bring happiness and purpose to your life, try to make a new hobby, expressing your creativity, spending time with nature, etc.
  • Involve in activities to relieve stress: This includes exercising which keeps the body and the mind to be healthy and also relieves stress.
  • Eating well and healthy food keep your focus: This contains reducing sugars and refined carbohydrates, decreasing the intake of foods which affects your mood, eating foods containing omega-3 fatty acids which will enhance your mood, avoid nicotine, alcohol.
  • Taking care of yourself: This includes maintaining balance in your life, having plenty of sleep and practicing relaxation techniques.
  • Be positive: This includes keeping your regular routine, having a plan to search for a new job, focus on the positives of you like your skills, personality traits and achievements; focus on what you can control, and helping yourself to keep going with your tasks (Smith, 2023).
Gender and Social Factors in Mental Health Effects

The epidemic has had a very negative influence on many people’s mental health. With gender differences in effects and a correlation between gender, social class, and family roles. Anxiety and depression are common side effects of unemployment, and it can also lower self-esteem. Allowing grief, expressing feelings, writing them down, and visualizing the job loss as a temporary setback are coping mechanisms to lessen the negative effects on health. Stay strong, reach out, rely on your family, explore new hobbies, take part in stress-relieving activities, eat well, take care of yourself, and maintain a positive attitude.

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