Unemployment puts health at risk, and the risk is higher in regions where unemployment is widespread. Evidence from a number of countries shows that, even allowing for other factors, unemployed people and their families suffer a substantially increased risk of premature death. The health effects of unemployment are linked to both its psychological consequences and the financial problems it brings – especially debt.

The health effects start when people first feel their jobs are threatened, even before they actually become employed. This shows that anxiety about insecurity is also detrimental to health. Job insecurity has been shown to increase effects on mental health (particularly anxiety and depression), self reported ill health, heart disease and risk factors for heart disease. Because unsatisfactory or insecure jobs can be as harmful as unemployment, merely having a job will not always protect physical and mental health: job quality is also important. ‘Social Determinants of Health: The Solid Facts, Second Edition by WHO Europe

Infographic showing the latest labour market figures for Wales.


Employment Example - National Conversation on Health Inequalities

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Poor mental health is also commonly associated with unemployment. Even when taking into account pre-existing mental health conditions, becoming unemployed is clearly related to the onset of mental health symptoms;
From ‘Sick of Being Unemployed - The health issues of out of work men and how support services are failing to address them’ by Gulliford et al. June 2014


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    Employment example - National Conversation on Health Inequalities

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