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How to recognise the effects of unemployment

When you have been out of work for a while, the effects of unemployment can be deeper and more significant than just a shortage of cash. It's important to be able to recognise the social and psychological aspects to unemployment, in order to take effective steps to get back into work.

Finding solutions

The personal effects of unemployment will differ according to age and temperament, but in general they have a detrimental impact on the unemployed person's confidence and sense of self-worth.

Numerous studies show that work is important in bolstering personal identity and providing structure to the day. To counter the drift of unemployment, it is important for the unemployed to set themselves a timetable, with set times devoted to job-hunting, training, voluntary work and similar activity.

Young people are strongly affected by unemployment. Work and income are the important factors in encouraging independence. Long-term unemployment can lead to increased reliance on parents and social inactivity. Again voluntary work, especially where roles carry responsibility, is a valuable counter-balance.

Older unemployed people have more problems dealing with the effects of unemployment, because they have to learn to adapt to a sudden lack of structure in their day, perhaps after many years of regular employment.

For mature adults, the prospect of long-term unemployment, or having to retrain for a new career can be alarming. The Government's Employment pages at direct.gov.uk offer basic advice on redundancy rights, and details about the range of support available to the unemployed.

It can be useful to read about others' experiences. Check websites like unemploymentdepression.com or ilostmyjob.com for insights and ideas on how to cope with the effects of unemployment.

Get back on the market

Recognising the psychological and personal effects of unemployment can be a useful first step in addressing the problem. It's a perfectly natural reaction to be depressed about the lack of a job, but maintaining a disciplined approach to job-hunting, and resisting the drift into a damaging lack of motivation are vital.

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