Does unemployment harm mental health?
1Between 2006 and 2011, every time the unemployment rate in the construction industry rose by ten percentage points, mental health disorders reported by workers forced out of the sector increased by around three percentage points.
2During the economic crisis in Spain, not only did unemployment rise but also its duration increased. In 2006, 2% of the active population had been unemployed for more than two years. By 2011, this group had nearly quadrupled, reaching almost 8%.
3In the construction industry, there was an 18-fold increase in the long-term unemployment rate, which rose from 0.1% of the active population in 2006 to almost 1.8% in 2011.
4The bursting of the property bubble provides a unique opportunity to identify the impact of unemployment on mental health. If a significant proportion of the population becomes unemployed, this generates an addition burden that holds back economic recovery.
Does unemployment affect mental health, or is it the other way round? Unemployment and mental health are connected. However, some researchers have asked the question whether it is unemployment that causes mental health problems, or whether people with mental health difficulties are more likely to become jobless. The extraordinary nature of the financial crisis in Spain has made it possible to establish that in all likelihood it is unemployment that affects workers’ mental health and not vice versa.