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Mental, Physical Health Effects of Long-Term Unemployment

By HERWriter
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Losing a job for a short period of time can generally cause some stress and depression, but picking up a new job can alleviate these mental issues in most cases. In long-term unemployment, psychological problems can linger and the only real solution in sight seems to be getting a new job.

However, in this economy, finding a job quickly after the initial unemployment stage is not always easy. This leaves the predicament of an increased likelihood of mental and physical health problems that are more long-lasting (in the case of a long-term unemployment).

In my last article, I mentioned one woman who was emotionally resilient, so even before she found a new job she bounced back to her original emotional state. However, even for short-term unemployment there could be longer and more serious mental and physical problems than this woman experienced. It seems more likely that long-term unemployment would produce these longer and more serious problems.

According to a U.S. News article from Oct. 2009, “5 million workers were out of work for six months or more in August.” The article continued to talk about the effect on mental health, which includes physical, psychological and spiritual effects.

Thomas Cottle, a sociologist mentioned in the article, said these effects can even extend the jobless period, since a person may be incapacitated and not functioning correctly in the above ways. Those who cannot function normally are generally not capable of looking for a job or succeeding in obtaining a job, or are severely limited in these areas. This is because stress, depression, anxiety and other mental problems can cause psychological and physical difficulties.

Depression, decreased self-esteem and identity crises are some common side effects of long-term unemployment, according to the article. Stress is also an effect to consider and all of these effects of long-term unemployment can affect family members of the unemployed person.

In a more recent article in the New York Times from Feb. 20, 6.3 million Americans are said to have been unemployed for six months or longer. This is “the largest number since the government began keeping track in 1948.”

Add a Comment3 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

and I am 29 years old.

November 26, 2010 - 11:23am

Amazing, I went to lunch with a friend today because of this very thing! I lost my job end of Oct, and I some days find it difficult to make myself dress for the day. My husband has dementia and now his doctor has a PT coming in twice a week to help with his exercise, believe it or not, now at 92 he is in better health and happier than I, becaue he has no worries about the MONEY and the "WHAT IF"! I don't want to talk to people about it, because I felt foolish and that I was just being silly...But I realize now that I had attached my id to my job, I was .....Exe Asst! I had a purpose. Many years ago, I volunteered and did social type things, then I had to assume the roll of "head of house" and the wage earner...now I am the caretaker and it does not feel good. HOWEVER, this article helps, because I see that "I'm normal" and that this is something that others out of work are dealing with, too. So, I will pull my boots on and get myself back out there, not be ashamed, and seek work, so I can gain back that "good feeling"!
Thanks for the article.
Respectfully, Princeline

February 25, 2010 - 3:38pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Princeline)

I have been unemployed since July 2010 and I am unable to get back to work with two degrees, good work experience and speaking several languages. All day I look for jobs and different approaches (sending CV, cold cover letter..etc) I am depressed, don't like and don't communicate with people anymore. My physical condition is getting worse. I don't get help from anywhere. People keep telling me completely different things and to be honest after all I am willing to listen to myself.
Yes, every day I wake up with a positive attitude, but by end of the day my positiveness turns into tears. So then what the hell am I doing wrong? Shall I claim government benefit? Well, I tried....and the conclusion: I am not a woman with less than a GCSE with six children claiming housing and child benefit! Lost what to do?

November 26, 2010 - 11:20am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.