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How to Combat Mental Health Disorders in Unemployed Young Adults

Image from Labor Finder.

In 2011, I read a statistic that really bothered me, that it was possible that 40% of adults under the age of 25 in Europe were unemployed.

All over the United States as well as many other countries are showing increasing rates of mental health problems in youth. Simultaneously, we are seeing higher and higher rates of unemployment among this same age group. Are they related? It is highly likely.

One study from December 2010 reported that being out of the workforce and not in education was associated with severe mental disorders. The risk of being hospitalized for depression was more than double and the risk of being hospitalized for self-harm and alcohol-related disorder was tripled among this population. Additionally, drug abuse was seven times more prevalent among economically inactive young adults.

This makes me think that there are many pieces of this puzzle, but the first thing we may have in our control is helping get young people into jobs. 

One part of this may be changing our expectations and our message to young people. This article from the Sociey For Human Resource Managment is a great overview of the drought of blue-collar workers in today's American economy. Where builders, mechanics, plumbers, etc used to be the backbone of American labor, companies are having to outsource certain functions overseas. And when labor goes abroad, it can have negative consequences here at home, especially as more and more young people flood the white-collar job market. 

Another part of this puzzle may be good public policy. Especially now in our public debates on health care reform, we need to consider the economic consequences of policies and how they may impact the future American workforce.

All in all, it's a lot to think about. But if you're a young person (or you mentor young people), be sure to do research into fields of work in your area. If you broaden your horizons into different types of technical training, you may find you are a good fit for the skilled labor force. And a good job with a living wage, and a good work-life balance, can be a powerful buffer against mental health problems in the future. 

Satu H. Woodland, PMHCNS-BC, APRN Satu H. Woodland, PMHCNS-BC, APRN Satu Woodland is owner and clinician of Hope Mental Health, an integrative mental health practice located at Bown Crossing in Boise, Idaho. She sees children, adolescents, and adults.  Ms. Woodland with her background in nursing, prefers a holistic and integrative approach to mental health care that addresses the mind and body together. While Ms. Woodland provides medication management services in all her patients, she believes in long-lasting solutions that include a number of psychotherapies, namely cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure and response prevention therapy, attention to lifestyle, evidenced based alternative psychiatric care and spirituality. If you’d like to gain control over your mental health issues, call Hope Mental Health at 208-918-0958, or use the online scheduling tool to set up an initial consultation.

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