Today the Office for National Statistics has reported the latest unemployment rates for the first quarter of 2012. Unemployment rates are at a 16 year high with 2.67 million people now unemployed, a rate of 8.6 percent. The figures showed that young people have a staggering rate of 22.2 percent unemployment, the number of people aged between 16 and 24 not working increased by 22,000 from December 2011 to a total of 1.04 million.
Unemployment is a growing economic problem and a harsh indicator that the recession is far from over. However, arguably more importantly than the economic effect of unemployment could be its affect on the mental wellbeing of both the general and unemployed population. Those who are currently in employment are likely to be suffering from stress and being subjected to excessive pressure to perform with the looming fact that their job could become redundant or that there are plenty of other applicants appealing to fill the position. Equally those without a job are suffering from decreased self-belief, self-confidence and a general lack of enthusiasm for life, with monotonous day to day living and the constant stream of rejection letters having a huge impact mental health .
It could be the case that many more people will be diagnosed with chronic stress, clinical depression and subsequently unable to function in a productive and economically necessary way.
At times of job stress and unemployment gloom it is important to have coping mechanisms to draw on to help maintain sanity, wellbeing and optimism. Unemployment could be perceived as an opportunity to take up a hobbies, participate in community projects or complete jobs that have been waiting to be completed, it could even be used to prepare gardens for the planting of vegetables come the spring, all things that will enhance emotional wellbeing, help manage stress and potentially reduce the cost of living when it is time to harvest.