In this article, we explore how mental health can be affected by job loss or the fear of job loss.
What is job insecurity?
The perception of job instability and actual job insecurity can negatively affect an individual’s mental health.
The worry of losing your work and having no control over whether or how long you’ll stay in your position is known as job insecurity.
The fact that job uncertainty is ongoing and frequently persistent is one of its most nefarious characteristics. This is known as “anticipatory anxiety”, and it occurs when you have no idea when or if you will really be fired but feel like you are coming closer to being dismissed every day. This unsettling sense of impending doom can persist for weeks or months, causing chronic stress and harming your relationships, performance, and emotional health. After all, having a job is fundamental to a person’s social identity and has long been associated with a feeling of moral value. The possibility of losing this source of money, identity, and social standing might make an individual feel anxious and ashamed. One such cause of job loss and insecurity is the incoming global economic recession following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Why fear of losing one’s job can have such drastic impact on mental health?
Stable economic situations have a positive effect on an individual’s mental health, with aspects such as job security, secure income, and one’s level of fulfilment at work promoting positive and healthy mental well-being. A person’s employment is connected to many other elements of their life. A job that is unstable might result in not just a loss of income but also of healthcare and retirement benefits, the opportunity for career advancement, and the ability to pursue extracurricular activities or hobbies. A job also includes routine and purpose, a unique work environment, co-workers, and objectives and interests relevant to the job. For many people, this means that their working lives constitute a sizeable portion of their overall lives.
Every job may have certain daily difficulties, but having a steady career will help individuals feel less stressed overall, since their schedules and income are predictable. Stable work also helps to minimise the stress of needing to locate new employment or financial problems. The detrimental effects of employment uncertainty are extensive. The persistent worry that you may lose your work can make existing mental health issues like anxiety and despair worse. Physically, that stress can result in migraines, altered appetite, insomnia, weakened immune system, and digestive difficulties.
Here are 2 ways in which the fear of losing one’s job can affect individuals’ mental health.
For individuals who have experienced even a single financial, housing, or job-related hardship, it may be challenging to keep a positive mindset. In fact, research has discovered that the association between financial difficulties and psychopathology has been consistently shown across time and in cases from various cultural backgrounds. Generally, the more debt people are in, the more likely they are to suffer from depression.
Such challenges may result in a feeling of hopelessness, worthlessness, and despair leading to decreased interest in work and personal life. In severe cases, such negative feelings could manifest in the form of self-harming behaviours and even suicide ideation or attempts.
As mentioned, fear of losing one’s job can result in anticipatory anxiety which can lead to uncontrollable and excessive worry, anxiety and even panic attacks. The lack of stability and security in one’s career can cause an individual to overthink and worry.
This is especially true for individuals who are parents or are the sole breadwinners of the family – they have an extra responsibility on their shoulders to provide for their loved ones. The instability and unpredictability of economic recessions will undoubtedly cause an overwhelming amount of stress as individuals are left with the fear of not being able to provide for themselves and for their families.
Seek Professional Help Early
If you find yourself struggling with your mental health, it may be time to seek professional counselling in Singapore.
Job loss or fear of job loss can result in sadness and self-isolation, and frustration can result in rage or hostility towards others and oneself. A Singapore certified counsellor may not be able to restore someone’s employment, but they may still help people navigate through their thoughts and minimise the emotional disturbance to give you a restful sleep.
If you are looking for counselling for anxiety problems or depression counselling in Singapore, Emotional Wellness has got your back. We are a counselling centre that provides professional psychotherapy services in a relaxing and cosy setting. Our psychotherapist has over 15 years of experience under her belt, and she can help you regain control and be free of emotional distress.
Feel free to drop us a message here and let us help you overcome the negative impacts fear of losing your job can have on your mental and emotional well-being.