Tuesday, September 8, 2020

[NJFAC] Unemployment & mental health

August 19, 2020 Professor at Magdalene College, University of Cambridge Research Associate at Center for Business Research, University of Cambridge 

It will not be long before a million people have died as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the number of people who have suffered from it is far greater than the list of fatalities. 

Many of us have endured minor inconveniences, such as shortages in the shops and an absence of sport on our televisions or being cut off from loved ones. But, for many people, the biggest impact is on our working lives. 

Unemployment can be a source of misery in a number of different ways. The most obvious problem with unemployment is the financial strain it brings, not only for the individual and family who lose a wage, but also for most states, which then provide welfare payments to offset the extremes of poverty.

But, beyond the financial aspects of unemployment, the effects on mental health are substantial, with a sizable increase in the risk of anxiety and depressive symptoms. It is clear from the research that the financial aspects of the loss of employment only account for a small part of associated mental health problems. 

The Mental Misery of Being Unemployed

There is a large body of evidence that shows that the mental health benefits from paid employment extend far beyond the financial rewards. Psychologists have listed the benefits of working to include the time structure that employment provides, the social contact, having a positive identity, a non-stigmatized status and sharing meaningful goals with other employees.


June Zaccone
National Jobs for All Coalition

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