Healthcare News & Insights

Unemployment & mental health: The next epidemic?

There’s another epidemic on the horizon, and it has nothing do with the H1N1 virus.

According to a recent survey, unemployed Americans are experiencing signs of severe mental illness at a rate roughly four times their employed counterparts. And of course, the unemployed are far less likely to have insurance to get the care they need before depression, anxiety and other illnesses worsen.

In addition, the survey found that people who were still employed, but had been forced to reduce their hours, take pay cuts or furloughs, etc. reported symptoms of mental illness at twice the expected rate.

Some of the study’s other findings:

  • Twice as many unemployed individuals say they are concerned about their mental health, or their use of drugs/alcohol
  • 13% of unemployed people have thought about harming themselves
  • more than half of the unemployed reported difficulty in getting needed health care, and
  • of those individuals who had not seen a doctor for their mental health concerns, 42% said they had gone without treatment due to the cost, or because they didn’t have insurance.

The survey was conducted by Mental Health America and the National Alliance on Mental Illness, with assistance from the Depression is Real Coalition.

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