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June 5, 2014
by Christie Hunter

Coping with the Emotional Impact of Unemployment

June 5, 2014 04:55 by Christie Hunter  [About the Author]

As financial afflictions persist in the world, there is no denying the fact that a sudden job loss can lead to grave consequences. Not only can it affect a person financially, but the constant stress can impact the metal health of a person. Often people suffer from depressive disorders or mental trauma after losing jobs, but the emotional impact of unemployment is often overlooked (Myers, 2011).1 One should keep in mind the fact that with increasing competition, it has become difficult for people to get another job quickly.

This is the reason that losing job these days when the world’s economy is hanging by a thread, is considered a major financial and emotional setback. However, Myers mentioned that in order to cope with financial and emotional challenges and look for other opportunities, it is very important for people to keep their nerves calm.

This highlight informs readers about the ways through which they can cope with emotional impact of unemployment:

Phases of Unemployment Grieve

Robinson (2012),2 in a detailed research about the ways through which psychological and emotional impact of joblessness can be minimized, mentioned that there are various phases of unemployment emotional trauma. In order to cope with the emotional challenges associated with unemployment, it is important to adopt the right strategy for every phase of post-unemployment trauma.

1. Denial

According to Robinson, this the first phase of joblessness trauma. A person keeps on denying the reality and tries to hold on to his/her previous life. Along with financial loss, a person also misses the workplace environment, schedule, and his/her old routine and tries to accept the change, during initial days of unemployment.


Galic et al. (2008)3 said that it is very important for a person to face the reality as soon as possible. Facing the truth helps a person to accept the change and incorporate necessary changes in his/her life.

2. Frustration

According to Cohen (2007),4 unexpressed anger and frustration are two of the major stressors that lead to long-term depressive diseases. said it is a fact that after accepting the reality about joblessness, a person goes through this phase and shows frequent episodes of anger.


Cohen said that an easy way to vent out frustration or anger is to discuss things with friends. It is also mentioned that following intense workouts and yoga exercises are also effective in controlling temperament.

3. Depressive Disorders

The study of Dargun et al. (2006)5 highlighted the fact that often people overlook the adverse affects of long-term unemployment stress on mental and physical health. The author said that people often complain about sleeplessness and loss of appetite after losing a job.


Researchers recommend that people suffering from depression and stress should immediately consult a psychiatrist or counselor. The author said that often it is difficult for people to discuss their feelings with friends and family, particularly if the person is an introvert. In such a situation, consulting a psychiatrist can help him overcome negative emotions.

4. Acceptance

Dragun marked it as the last phase of the unemployment trauma. After sometime a person gathers enough courage to completely leave the old life behind and move on.


The author said that one of the best ways to seek better opportunities is to stay in contact with the real world. Many studies have highlighted that despite the depression, a person should not isolate himself from the real world.

Tips to Recover Quickly

Here are some quick tips that can help people to recover quickly form the emotional trauma of unemployment:

Confide in Friends- According to Robinson, family is directly influenced by job loss. Therefore, it is better to discuss feelings or stress with a neutral person like friends.

Don’t Contact Ex-Colleagues- Robinson also highlighted that it is very important to avoid the reminders of your previous life to move on quickly. The author said that during initial days of unemployment, it is better to avoid contact with ex-colleagues. However, later on people can contact them and seek their help in finding a job.

Force Yourself to Move On- According to Robinson; this is probably the most important and easiest tip to recover from the emotional setback. The author said that pressurizing yourself to move on can help a person overcome the unemployment depression quickly.  The author also highlighted the fact that it is very important for a person to have a proper schedule and defined routine to recover from depressive state of mind.


1. Myers W. (2011). The Effects of Long-Term Unemployment.

2. Robinson A. (2012). Coping With the Emotions of a Job Loss - Some Excellent Advice.

3. Galic Z. (2008). Effects of prolonged unemployment and reemployment on psychological and physical health.

4. Cohen, F. , Kemeny, M. E., Zegans L. S. , Johnson P., Kearney  K. A.,  &  Stites,  D.  P. (2007). Immune function declines with unemployment and recovers after stressor termination. Psychosomatic Medicine.

5. Dragun, A.,  Russo, A.,  &  Rumbolt,  M.  (2006). Socioeconomic stress and drug consumption: Unemployment as an adverse health  factor  in  Croatia.  Croatian Medical Journal.

About the Author

Christie Hunter

Christie Hunter is registered clinical counselor in British Columbia and co-founder of Theravive. She is a certified management accountant. She has a masters of arts in counseling psychology from Liberty University with specialty in marriage and family and a post-graduate specialty in trauma resolution. In 2007 she started Theravive with her husband in order to help make mental health care easily attainable and nonthreatening. She has a passion for gifted children and their education. You can reach Christie at 360-350-8627 or write her at christie - at -

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