Experts Warn of Mental Health Fallout from Mass U.S. Unemployment

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From The Guardian: “But beyond the dollar signs, economists are worried about the long-term effects that being unemployed will have on Americans’ mental health – a problem that will further highlight the cracks in the country’s safety net and healthcare system.

It may seem cliche but work is not all about the money, and research proves it. ‘People want to work. They want to do meaningful things,’ said Art Goldsmith, a professor of economics at Washington and Lee University who has researched the psychological effects of unemployment.

Although Goldsmith noted there is evidence that people experience a brief period of optimism when they are first let go from their jobs – they find they have more time to do other tasks, like cleaning out a garage – dangerous feelings of pessimism can set in after four to five weeks of unemployment.

‘As the weeks go on, and we see the economy struggling, I think there will be more pessimism. I worry the emotional footprint of this experience can be quite large,’ Goldsmith said.”

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3 COMMENTS

  1. What utter horseshit. Yes, people want to do meaningful work which is why SO MANY are disillusioned with their pointless jobs. And it turns out the jobs that really do matter pay shit and we look down on those people.

    Of course there’s going to be a mental health fallout from mass unemployment because we all basically know there’s nothing and no one left to catch you. That lack of a safety net started with Clinton’s “welfare reform” and it continues through now to these constant messages about this nebulous concept called “work” which we have defined in this country to really mean hustling for scraps for anyone who finds themselves at the lower eschelons of society.

    My daughter is very happy to be home taking care of her baby instead of continuing to slave away at Waffle House for a pittance. What she’s not happy about is the whole underclass of people like her who have been virtually forgotten in all the complaining about how terrible it is for the middle class to be stuck at home working remotely in secure jobs that will provide unemployment benefits if they are lost. Fuck the maids and waitresses and janitors and Uber drivers and long term temp workers in factories and undocumented planting and picking the fields. Some of us are worried about the cost of basic necessities going up. Others are worried about starving and evictions.

    When we talk about mental health disparities and effects of unemployment, let’s be clear that some people have EVERYTHING to lose. Shame on and how dare those with privileged positions talk about how what’s really wrong is that people actually want to be doing these shitty jobs for shitty pay and stigma of being considered “uneducated”.

    What this crisis SHOULD be teaching us is the incredible service that SERVICE WORKERS contribute to society and how deeply shameful it should be that they often live in abject poverty with very little security. And then when life becomes too much, we call them mental ill. It makes me sick to my stomach. SHAME ON THIS CULTURE!!!!

    How wonderful it would be if our grocery workers and delivery workers and Amazon warehouse workers were to walk out en masse until they received their rightful share of the damn pie….

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