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Unemployment and Mental Health

Unemployment and Mental Health

Coping with Unemployment

You will probably feel as if you are on an emotional roller-coaster. You may be shocked, angry, or deny that anything bad has happened to you. You will probably worry or feel anxious about how you are going to pay the bills. This can also make you feel frustrated and depressed. Feelings of frustration, anger, hope and excitement will all come and go while you are looking for a new job.

The roller-coaster ride can often keep going until you find a new job. If you have recently lost your job, we hope this pamphlet will help you to understand that you are not alone in your feelings and to help you cope with the difficulties of unemployment.

Depression after a Job Loss: Statistics & How to Cope

Learn about how losing your job can lead to depression and what you can do about it. Find out why job loss is especially traumatic for men. For many people, losing a job not only means the loss of income and benefits, but also the loss of one's identity.

Depression and Job Loss

Job loss can be a traumatic and unsettling event. With stories about layoffs, downsizing, and cutbacks the stress of being jobless can build even more. For some people, losing a job may be as devastating as losing a loved one or going through a divorce. Many unemployed people are at risk for depression.

Facing Unemployment: Ten Steps to Handling Your Unemployment Anxiety

Although unemployment is generally associated with decreased income (unless one has a severance package), some unemployed people have been flexible about their spending habits and have been able to adjust to the changing situation. But many unemployed people suffer from depression, anxiety, rumination, and a sense of hopelessness. Fortunately, there are some guides to how to cope with this difficult situation.

Job Loss and Unemployment Stress

Our jobs are much more than just the way we make a living. They influence how we see ourselves, as well as the way others see us. Our jobs give us structure, purpose, and meaning. That’s why job loss and unemployment is one of the most stressful things you can experience. Beyond the loss of income, losing a job also comes with other major losses, some of which may be even more difficult to face.

Preserving Mental Health during Unemployment

A spouse's job loss can also put strain on a marriage. Spouses may blame each other for not cutting spending, not going back to work soon enough, or not foreseeing this happening and finding another position in time. In addition, many people deal with stress by increasing alcohol intake or converting stress into anger, potentially leading to increases in spousal arguments, domestic violence, health and legal problems. Increasing financial stress or transition also exacerbates pre-existing marital and relationship problems

Unemployed? Keep Depression at Bay

According to a recent study published in the "International Journal of Epidemiology," unemployment is a major risk factor for depression, even in people without previous vulnerability.


When you lose your job, not only is your usual source of income gone, but also your personal work relationships, daily structures, and an important sense of self-purpose. Unemployment can be, and often is, a shock to your whole system. You can experience some of the same feelings and stresses that you would if you were seriously injured, going through a divorce, or mourning the loss of a loved one. You can go through some or all of the stages of grieving just as you would with any other major loss. In this section, you will find coping strategies that will help you through the difficulties of unemployment.

Unemployment, Mental Health and Substance Abuse

Unemployment is one of many factors that influence health. Other factors like housing, income and a lack of social support also have a huge impact on overall well-being. It's also easy to see how these factors are related. Unemployment can lead to a low income, which can lead to poor housing, which can change social networks, which can limit access to social supports, and so on.