According to the US Surgeon General, mental health issues continue to be a significant concern, especially among young people and marginalized groups, such as LGBTQ+ and people of color. The pandemic has only worsened the mental health challenges people already faced due to economic hardship, racial inequality, and climate change.
The link between unemployment and poor mental health is a two-way street. Unemployment damages mental health by compromising a person's self-worth and sense of purpose, while mental health challenges make it harder to find and keep a job. When you understand how unemployment and mental health are related, you can help your clients take positive steps to overcome related obstacles.
When your clients face unemployment, it can damage their emotional health. Unsuccessfully looking for work can cause feelings of anxiety and self-doubt. Finding work and contributing to family and community is part of developing a healthy personality. When this goal is thwarted over a long period, anxiety and self-doubt can lead to a sense of helplessness over one of the most important aspects of life.
Depression, frustration, alienation, and pessimism can all be exacerbated by unemployment. Once these negative patterns and mental health issues have taken root, they can further interfere with finding work. The longer your clients are unemployed, the worse the effects can be. Long-term unemployment can cause mental health challenges that can cause your clients to give up even looking for work. In a recent study, 15% of unemployed people report that they aren't looking for work due to mental health problems.
Although the problem can seem overwhelming, taking small steps can help. One reason unemployment may be destructive to mental health is that it deprives people of the positive byproducts of employment, such as a structured day, a sense of accomplishment, and shared experiences. You can help your clients build those accomplishments into their days while searching for a job.
Participating in an unemployment job training program like MedCerts will give your clients a sense of accomplishment before they even start looking for a job. You can help them celebrate the small wins while training for a new career. Completing a module or passing a test is a reason to celebrate and can help your clients develop their self-esteem.
MedCerts also offers student services that help your clients prepare for a well-paying, rewarding career and participate in shared experiences that can improve their mental well-being. Healthcare or information technology are careers that will benefit both your clients and society, increasing your clients' feelings of self-worth and competence.
There's no doubt that mental health is a complicated issue. There are no shortcuts to improving mental well-being. However, taking small steps to improve their circumstances, celebrating wins along the way, and knowing they're building a better future will give your clients a good start. You can help them lay the foundation they need to break the destructive unemployment and poor mental health cycle.