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A 2014 survey conducted by the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index found that 12.4% of unemployed Americans suffer from depression compared to 5.6% of those who work full time. For those who have been without a job for a long period of time (“long-term unemployment” is regarded as being without a job for 27 weeks or more), the rate of depression jumps to 18% or nearly one in five.

Work and Self-Esteem

Having a job to go to everyday is very closely linked to self-worth and self-esteem, says psychotherapist Charles Allen. When you have a job, you feel like you are a contributing member of society (Although that feeling is mostly sub-conscious, he notes). Another psychotherapist, Jonathan Alpert, has a lot of clients who are unemployed and depressed. He notes that they often experience feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, and that they often have a decreased sense of self-identity. “Employment provides a sense of purpose, … of belongingness,” he says. “Those who are unemployed lack that purpose.”

Depression and Joblessness

Being depressed can also seriously inhibit the ability for someone to find and keep a job . Allen’s clients who are unemployed and seek jobs, “typically have tremendous difficulty in finding work because they lack energy and drive to engage in a job hunt,” Alpert says. Additionally, those who are jobless often lack organization in their daily lives. If you don’t have a reason to get up in the morning, you’re more likely to stay up until 3 or 4 a.m. Habits like these often further alienate those who are unemployed from the working population, further decreasing motivation.

But depression is just one form of mental illness that keeps people from working. There are millions of people in the U. S. who suffer from some kind of mental illness. In fact, the National Alliance of Mental Illness asserts that “approximately 1 in 25 adults in the U.S.—9.8 million, or 4.0%—experiences a serious mental illness in a given year that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities.” Mental illness too often leads to joblessness which puts an individual into a downward spiral, mentally, emotionally and vocationally.

Having and keeping a job is a key part of our identities, and is closely linked to feelings of self-worth and to the way we view our individual role in society. Bayaud Enterprises offers employment programs for those struggling to find employment because of disabilities, mental illnesses, homelessness, or criminal history. To find out more about our Denver employment services and to learn how we can help you move towards an improved quality of life through employment contact us today.