The Mental Health Effect of Job Loss

The plague has affected our lives dramatically.

One relevant change that has occurred is the way employees want to interact with their work.

For the first time, employers could see into their employees’ homes and interact with them in a non-professional environment. The separation between work and personal life is becoming blurred. Conversations about personal struggles have become more and more routine because of the intimacy created from our virtual interactions. Although most people worked remotely, many had the ability to get to know their colleagues on a much more personal level than when they worked in the same office.

In the same breath, many employers were forced to make the difficult decision to reduce their workforce due to the epidemic upheaval. This in turn has put many workers under increased pressure levels perpetuated by macroeconomic conditions.

One of the most challenging problems that people face in their lives is when they feel they are unable to control the results of their efforts.

People want to be in control of their income, relationships, their health and that of their family. These feelings are clearly present when people face unexpected changes such as the death of a loved one, divorce or separation, or job loss. In fact, studies show (Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol. 90, No.1, 2005) Because unemployment can have a devastating effect on a person’s mental and physical health even for those who do not experience economic stress. People who do not work for six months or more experience the worst mental health outcomes. There is extreme isolation when people lose their jobs. For many the loss of their organizational position is akin to the loss of identity.

Employers can have a powerful impact on the lives of former employees by the way they take care of them even after they are not part of the organization.

Not only can organizations provide the separating person with financial support through layoffs, but they can also equip them with the skills, tools, and support they need through career transition services. A program that provides them with coaching, peer support and industry experts provides people with self-confidence and mental health to perform an effective job search.

A September 2020 Mental Health America (MHA) survey, completed by 5,000 employees in 17 industries, found that 56% of employees reported spending active time looking for a new job, compared to 40% in 2018. Employees are not just looking for higher pay, they are looking for an organization that provides them with a comprehensive benefits package. Employees want to work for a company that not only takes care of them while they are employed in it, but also for the graduates who have left the organization due to an involuntary or voluntary basis. In a highly competitive labor market and participation in the lowest labor force since 1977 (Labor Statistics Bureau), The organizations that will support their employees throughout their life cycle will not only continue to retain their employees, but will create a culture where people are always worth the investment.

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