Healthy Living Blog – The Effect of COVID-19 Job Loss on Mental Health
Job and income loss can be shocking. Without a job, people worry about affording food and paying their rent/mortgage and bills. COVID-19 has caused millions of people to lose their jobs at very high rates. The future is unknown because of the pandemic. This can make people’s mental health worse because they are very anxious about both their health and their jobs.
The growing mental health crisis
Because of COVID-19 disruptions, more people might be experiencing:
- Chronic stress
- Substance abuse (drug and alcohol abuse)
Ways to cope with job and income loss
- Accept your feelings about losing your job.
- Recognize grief. Grief is an emotion that comes after losing someone or something. Your job loss might come with losing your sense of purpose or identity, which is a big part of you.
- Seek out resources. This can be filing for unemployment and getting help with food and housing.
- Don’t worry about the future. Everyone is most likely unsure about what happens after the pandemic. It’s important to focus on the present moment and on things you can control. This can help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.
- Make sure to take care of yourself. Talk to someone you trust about your feelings or, if you can, seek out help from a mental health professional.
The link between suicide rates and unemployment rates
- There is research that shows that an unstable economy may be linked to increases in suicides and substance abuse.
- A study of the Great Recession (2007-2009) found that for every percentage point increase in the unemployment rate, the suicide rate increases by 1.6 percentage points.
- The pandemic may cause long-term financial stress for many Americans. Some workers may feel hopeless because they might not return to their jobs. This can increase their risk of suicidal thoughts.
What could suicide prevention look like during COVID-19?
- Talking to someone. People can use their phones, tablets, and computers to share their feelings with another person. Staying social can reduce feelings of isolation and suicidal thoughts.
- Seeing a mental health professional through telehealth. This means that you can use your electronic devices for your mental health appointments.
- Overall increased access to mental health care.
- People contacting suicide attempt survivors for a short or long period of time after their attempt.
Have questions or curious to learn more? Please reach out to our Health Center and make an appointment to speak with a doctor. AACI provides an array of services, including behavioral health counseling services, in English, Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese, and many other languages. Call (408) 975-2763 to schedule your appointment today!