Unemployed Face Additional Mental Health Burdens As Joblessness Stretches On

“It feels a bit like musical chairs now. It’s reached a point where there are just fewer opportunities,” said one career expert.

Losing a job triggers feelings of worry and inadequacy at the best of times, and living in a rapidly worsening pandemic is subjecting people to new and pervasive stressors. As Covid-19 cases surge, experts say, the mental health of millions of unemployed Americans is at risk.

“There is already a lot of stress and anxiety due to Covid-19, and everyone’s worried about their health and the health of their loved ones, so to put an unemployment crisis on top of an already difficult, stressful time — I think it’s pushing the edge of what people are able to handle,” said Ofer Sharone, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.