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Mental Health Troubles Rise in Unemployment


The National Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health America just releases a survey stating that people who cannot find jobs are four times more likely to experience severe mental-health issues, including depression. It appears that mental health troubles rise with the unemployed.

The survey shows that 13 percent of the unemployed say they have seriously considered harming themselves, the survey showed. "Compounding the problem, when you lose your job, you lose your health insurance, and then you lose your ability to pay for treatment," said Michael J. Fitzpatrick, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, an advocacy group in Virginia. This can put people in a troubled position since mental-health troubles rise with the unemployed.

The survey comes at a time when the nation is caught up in a national debate about the future of health care in the United States. Fitzpatrick said he was heartened that mental-health coverage was part of the debate. Last year, Congress passed legislation that gave mental-health care parity with care for physical conditions.

Workers who have lost jobs in industries such as automobiles, steel, glass, shipbuilding and rubber, where jobs may never reappear, are the ones that are at the highest risk psychologically. ''Psychologically, it's worse than the Great Depression'' for these people, said Dr. Paula Rayman, a professor of sociology at Brandeis University.

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Mental health troubles rise with the unemployed and the severity of psychological depression among the unemployed today frequently stems from technological changes and a permanent restructuring of industry into which many previously well-paid workers are unlikely to fit, and it is this permanence that psychologists regard as being at the heart of the acute pessimism that now exists.

The Government reported that 1.8 million workers have given up hope of finding work because they believe there are none available in the first three months of this year. That is an increase of 300,000 over the past six months.

''The massiveness of this problem has not yet descended on the American public,'' said Dr. M. Harvey Brenner, a professor of health services administration at Johns Hopkins University, whose research has linked unemployment to increases in physical and psychological problems. ''We already see the harmful effect of structural change on workers, and it will get worse.''

Depression due to loss of work is feelings of personal loss, often combined with an irrational sense of guilt and anxiety about survival. Hopelessness and despair creep in and for some people they find it difficult to even look for work. People should know their resources as how to get low pay counseling and help which is needed since mental health troubles rise with the unemployed.

Materials from World News and Philadelphia Inquirer are used in this report.

Written by Tyler Woods Ph.D.
Tucson, Arizona
Exclusive to eMaxHealth