Though the unemployment rate is steadily declining in most states, at least 10 percent of able-bodied Americans are currently unemployed due to the recession. Mental health issues such as depression and even suicide have steadily increased during the recession. In some cases, extended unemployment can cause depression. But more often than not, unemployment is just one of many factors that can cause serious depression or anxiety.
People with a personal or family history of mental illness are much more likely to experience depression and anxiety when faced with unemployment or a similar life challenge. But, even people without a history of depression are much more likely to exhibit symptoms after six months of unemployment. Searching for a job can cause anxiety and depression even in a mentally healthy person. The longer the person experiences rejection when seeking a new job, the more likely he is to become seriously depressed, according to CNN.
Not every unemployed American is eligible for unemployment or other government benefits, especially if someone has extended difficulties finding a job. The fear of being unable to survive or take care of loved ones is powerful and has caused some people without a history of mental illness to attempt or commit suicide. Even treated depression makes it much more difficult for someone to find or sustain a job due to changes in the brain’s chemistry. Weight gain, lethargy, or insomnia are all possible consequences of depression. These take a toll on physical health, shortening life span and making it even less likely that the person can sustain long-term employment. Domestic violence rates are higher among people with long-term problems finding or keeping a job, which puts spouses and children at risk of injury or even death.