The Impact of Unemployment on Mental Health

Blog Author By: camaliclinicdxb
The Impact of Unemployment on Mental Health

Today, countless people have lost their jobs. They face economic crises because of the global financial recession and the higher cost of living, often resulting in hopelessness and insecurities, leaving one to face insurmountable pressure and uncertainty.

Not only do our jobs provide us with much-needed social interaction, but also our work provides us with purpose and structure, and when you lose this, you may be losing more than just a way to pay your bills. Even if you were not particularly satisfied with your job, there most likely were aspects that provided a source of personal fulfillment, such as getting on with your colleagues, making good friends, and providing a social outlet.

Finding yourself out of work can leave you feeling shocked, worried, angry, and depressed; we may begin to doubt our abilities and what our future would look like – this is most concerning for one-income families who are the sole support. Adjusting to the loss of employment may take some time. It can cause much discomfort, and there is always the fear about your finances, figuring out expenses, and unwanted lifestyle changes. A different routine after job loss may trigger an adjustment disorder. An adjustment disorder is an emotional response that occurs when you have difficulty adjusting to a particular source of stress, such as a new situation, or any major life shift, such as losing your job and having a different daily routine or lack of practice. Adjustment disorder symptoms can result in depression and anxiety, e.g., sadness, trouble sleeping, lack of motivation, excessive worry, constant negative thinking, and suicidal thoughts/behaviors.

Although most of us experience great difficulty upon losing our jobs – there may be an upside. The time you now have may help you transition to a better and more lucrative career. Perhaps, one for which you are better suited. Your newfound time may allow you to reevaluate your professional goals. Maybe you can take this time to consider a career change or contemplate returning to school or a vocational program; you can obtain a degree, or new professional skills, anywhere in the world as accredited universities and other institutions offer online courses and degrees. You can also find a career coach to help you determine what you enjoy doing and offer solid and practical advice. Try to figure out what your passions are. Think about what your professional or personal power is.

Also, when considering what you want, reflecting on your previous jobs and thinking about what you liked about the profession and the challenges is helpful. Another option is to seek part-time or temporary work until you can find another full-time position. You can obtain an independent contracting job if you are in a situation where you can temporarily forfeit health insurance and other benefits a full-time job can offer. Not only will this help you pay the bills, but also, it will allow you freedom and can often lead to a permanent position.

There are many platforms to seek out new employment. First, network and seek contacts within your industry or any exciting company. You can also attend networking events or job fairs. However, in today’s job market, social media is the most common way to get a job, with many platforms providing promising leads. Social media makes it easy to job search and promote our skills globally. The world has evolved and can provide us with many virtual opportunities to live in one country and work with people and organizations worldwide. For example, LinkedIn is a platform for professional networking and career development where you can post your CV for visibility to employers locally or worldwide.

One crucial fact to consider when you find an opportunity that may pique your interest but lacks the desired specifications is to remember not to turn down an offer because it appears a certain way “on paper.” Ask questions, and don’t be afraid to ask for what you seek. Many jobs appear one way, but most organizations now offer flexible schedules and the opportunity to work remotely.

During this challenging time, you must practice self-care for your mental health and well-being. The uncertainty of being unemployed can lead to fear and hopelessness; therefore, take the initiative to do even small things that may help reduce stress and anxiety. Take some downtime when needed – possibly take a “day off” from your job search to practice self-care. Even though expenses may be a concern, there are plenty of methods to manage your anxiety and other complicated feelings with minimal financial cost, such as meditation, walking, or enjoying a favorite movie. Most importantly, try not to become discouraged; job loss is devastating, and searching for new employment takes time, work, and patience. Although it may be difficult, do your best to stay positive and believe your next great opportunity is just around the corner!

Lastly, it is essential to remember that these stressors are temporary and tend to get better as we learn to adjust and cope with our new situations. However, if you have symptoms of depression, severe anxiety, struggle to get through each day, or suicidal thoughts that you find unmanageable, please seek professional mental health support during this difficult time and feel more positive about life again!

About The Author:

Carolyn is a Clinical Social Worker and CBT therapist with considerable experience in providing clinical therapy to adults, children, and adolescents from a culturally diverse and socio-economic background who face the challenges of coping with mental health disorders, substance abuse, and trauma.

Carolyn began her career working for an alternative high school providing counselling and crisis intervention for adolescents who required special education programs due to: Emotional difficulties, truancy, academic failures, verbal and physically abusive behaviours, socialisation problems, ADD/ADHD, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. She has also been involved in Early Intervention services providing home and centre-based services to children and their families and conducting mental health assessments and providing mental health counselling.



  • Counsellor at Camali Clinic