Economic Recession Causing Anxiety, Stress, and Depression

The farther we get into the ongoing economic recession, the more apparent the consequences of the recession become. Early on, quantifiable losses such as unemployment numbers, loss of income, foreclosure statistics, and the like painted a concrete picture of the tangible effects of trying economic times. But new information on the recession’s psychological toll looks deeper into the unseen challenges facing not only those who have lost jobs, but also those who have maintained employment.

Employees who have lost their jobs or seen wage or salary reductions have been hit the hardest, both financially and psychologically. Adults who are unemployed are four times more likely to deal with mental illness than are their employed counterparts. Yet, when they lose their jobs, they also lose access to both employer-sponsored counseling services, as well as to the financial resources for seeking independent counseling. The financial stresses of being unemployed, especially when trying to support a family, add anxiety, stress, and depression to an already challenging situation. In addition, losing the social interaction of a work community and the support network of coworkers can further contribute to psychological challenges after being laid off.

However, it’s not just the unemployed who suffer. Seeing coworkers lose their jobs can create an environment of instability and fear. This triggers anxiety which can result in a lack of motivation and decreased productivity. In addition, employees who retain their jobs while coworkers are let go can also experience survivors’ guilt. Plus, studies show that even a small reduction in hours or pay, when not undertaken by choice, can trigger psychological concerns: recent surveys show that such employees are twice as likely to exhibit signs of severe mental illness. These findings reinforce the need for access to counseling and therapy, both within workplaces and outside of them, to help ensure that economic instability causes as little psychological instability as possible.

© Copyright 2010 by By John Smith. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • Heath Streak

    June 11th, 2010 at 10:10 PM

    A friend of mine lost his job at the peak of the recession and is yet to find a new one.I just cannot describe how pessimistic and how changed a person he is now.He used to be one of the most cheerful person I know but is now nothing like his past self…I am now trying to convince him to seek counseling help.

  • Fred

    June 12th, 2010 at 6:27 AM

    Sometimes just asking someone how things are going gives them the feeling that someone cares and is not looking down on them for not being able to find another job.

    These are tough times and constantly harping on people about getting a new job probably is not the wisest way to go.

    Be kind and be supportive, and give them job info when you have it to pass along, but don’t be a nag.

  • Drew H.

    June 12th, 2010 at 6:48 AM

    a lot of my elder sister’s co-workers lost jobs and she feared she would too…and this unfortunately made her get irritated easily with us at home and although the worst of recession seems to be past us,she is still a stressed and short-tempered person :(

  • austin

    June 13th, 2010 at 11:00 AM

    wouldn’t the recession cause angst and anxiety for you if you did not have a job?

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