Unemployment And Mental Health: The Link Between Them
Losing (or not having) a job can have a negative effect on your emotional well-being. Not only have you lost a steady source of earnings, but also your sense of purpose. Being unemployed can cause you to feel helpless, out of control and less of an adult. Making meaningful contributions to your family and the overall improvement of yourself can be empowering. The minute you lose that, your self-esteem and self-worth levels drop.
Basically, you become deprived of a structured daily life. Work relationships, along with most chances of networking, are lost and the status you had that everyone else was so proud of becomes a thing of the past. Unemployment can be compared to a culture shock or even getting seriously injured. It features the same stresses and can negatively impact your emotional wellness and self-confidence.
Unemployment And Black Women
It’s important to differentiate unemployment from just not being a part of your nation’s labour force. Being unemployed means you’re actively seeking a job to no avail. Some people choose to not have a job, and that’s perfectly fine. However, there are some people who have become so discouraged with job-seeking that they stop. These individuals may experience the same negative mental health impact as those who are unemployed. The rate of unemployment for black women (6.6%) is nearly twice that of white men (3.4%). Even worse is that more than half of the black households in the United States are in the bottom two income quintiles. So even if we’re not unemployed, chances are we’re broke.
Unemployment And Mental Health
There are several ways unemployment can affect your livelihood, which in turn, negatively impacts your mental health. Not having what might be your only source of income can affect you and your family’s standard of living. This means you probably won’t be able to live the same lifestyle you used to. You might have to switch from brand name to unbranded clothes, you might have to switch your kids out of private school, and you’re probably going to have to stop buying that latte at Starbucks every morning.
There are so many things you might have to stop doing, or significantly limit, which ultimately could affect how you feel about yourself. Many black women, especially single moms, feel inadequate in the household because they are unable to provide for their families in the way they would want to. Others compare themselves with their partners and/ or siblings and friends. This reduces their self-esteem and forces them into a state of helplessness or self-doubt.
Anxiety And Unemployment
If one has no reliable source of income, then she becomes anxious about where the next meal will come from. She worries about how bills are going to be paid, and just how she is going to live in general. Anxiety is one of the most common mental health disorders. Its symptoms are more chronic and intense in black females than their white counterparts. Women tend to get anxious when they are uncertain about how long they are going to be without a steady income or if there is a sudden change in their standard of living.
Finally, being unemployed means losing work friends and losing the status you had among those colleagues. Not only have you lost your social contacts ( a means of reducing stress), your self-esteem is considerably reduced. All of these can result in depression, especially when unemployment last longer than expected. The trauma of losing a job can either be very intense as soon as it happens then subside later. Otherwise, the reduction in self-confidence, social isolation, and lack of funds can make being healthy emotionally extremely difficult. It affects everyone differently.
It should be noted that even though being unemployed can impact mental health, having mental health issues can cause unemployment. The link between mental health and unemployment cannot be broken. It goes both ways.
What Do I Do Now?
Being unemployed does not mean you have to sit at home bored and alone. There are several ways to reduce the likelihood of your mental health deteriorating because of the impact of losing a job. The key is to not let the toll of not being paid fortnightly or monthly weigh down on you.
Get organized, exercise, and volunteer. Do what makes you happy while you hunt for a job instead of basking in grief over losing the last one. The fact is, most people will experience a layoff at some point in their career but the grass is always greener where you water it. You will have more time on your hands than you know what to do with and less money to spend to maximize it. Life will feel entirely different.
Just remember that the jam you’re in now is just for a while. It won’t last forever. Make sure when you get that next job you put yourself in a better financial situation so that the blow will not be as hard of it happens next time around.
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