Publication Date

June 2007


[Excerpt] Unemployment leads directly to poverty— a situation that people with mental illness are three times more likely to be in than people without disabilities. Cornell University researchers reported in 2005 that people with psychiatric disabilities had a poverty rate of 30% compared to 24% for people with any disability and 9.1% for people without disabilities.

Few things are more harmful to a person's physical and mental health than long-term unemployment. Numerous studies within the past two decades show significant correlations between long-term unemployment and negative personal results, such as increased hospitalizations, increased substance abuse, greater incidence of depression, lower self-esteem, and increased anxiety. So it is quite surprising that so much discussion centers around the possible negative effects of stressors associated with entering employment (with little evidence supporting this view). There is almost no discussion on the need to avoid long-term unemployment.