The impact of unemployment on mental health

Unemployment can have a huge impact on your mental health. In fact, a recent report published by the Mental Health Foundation warns of a “profound effect” of unemployment on public mental health. The report revealed that:

  • 70% of UK adults felt unemployment or job loss has a negative effect on mental health.
  • More than 1 in 4 adults who had experienced a job loss or unemployment felt unsupported at the time.
  • 45% of UK adults associated unemployment or job loss with ‘loss’ and 25% with ‘trauma’.

The report also warns that rising unemployment and job uncertainty during the Covid-19 pandemic will continue to “have a profound effect on mental health at a country-wide level.”

But what effect does unemployment have on our mental health?

Unemployment can massively affect an individual’s mental health in many different ways, including the following:

Reduced levels of self-esteem

Being unemployed can have a negative influence on your self-esteem, causing feelings of worthlessness, embarrassment, and the emotions associated with the loss of a day-to-day structure. Many people feel as though they don’t have anything to wake up for when they are unemployed.

Standard of living

The loss of income associated with unemployment usually results in a reduced household income, which can have a significant impact on the standard of living. From worrying about having the money to cover day-to-day living costs and bills, to being forced to give up luxuries such as social activities and holidays, losing a steady income or being forced to take a pay reduction can have negative ramifications on a person’s mental health.

Insecurity of income

We all like to feel secure in life. But being unemployed has also been linked to anxiety, causing individuals to worry where their next wage will come from. This, in turn, leads to feelings of helplessness and loss of control. Income insecurity can also cause a drop in morale and productivity.

The stigma associated with unemployment

The stigma associated with unemployment is enough to cause a person’s mental health and wellbeing to deteriorate. For example, feelings of embarrassment and having to face family and friends with the news that you are now unemployed can have major implications on a person’s mental health.

Unemployment is currently at an all-time high. And, as we are still continuing to manoeuvre the pandemic, experts are predicting that the health consequences of unemployment are set to increase, with calls for the Government to step in and offer mental health support to those that are directly affected by job loss.