June 24, 2014

Want to support healthcare? Then create jobs.

SOCAP Global Post Author

By: Nicholas Hazard, CALSO
We all know that the lack of exercise, poor diet and tobacco consumption contribute to aggravating health issues. So, we all go to the gym and eat organic food. But, did you know that being unemployed for years is considered a damaging behavior for health, just as being a couch potato?
It is scientifically proven that long-term unemployment leads to mental & physical health deterioration, especially among disadvantaged and young populations.
“Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort.”  -Franklin D. Roosevelt
Surprising? It shouldn’t be. We’ve known it for a long time. Scientists (Eisenberg and Lazarsfield in 1938) and sociologists (Jahoda et al. 1933) already understood after the Great Depression the link between health and employment: involuntary joblessness leads to mental issues, whether it is depression, anxiety, stress or hospital admission. Erik Erikson, father of the theory on psychological development, has demonstrated that healthy and personal development is only possible if a person feels useful to his family and community. These conclusions have never been as relevant as today: the average number of persons with psychological problems among the unemployed is 34%, compared to 16% among employed individuals. One in five Americans experienced some sort of mental illness in 2010. When you know that mental illness cost about $300 billion alone in the United States, you understand how crucial this issue is!
But unemployment also provokes physical issues. In fact, the long-term unemployed are more likely to have unhealthy behaviors. Ralp Catalano demonstrates that unemployment is associated with an increase of alcohol consumption. More broadly, physical activity decreased during unemployment. In the US, between 2005 and 2011, illegal drug use was 18% for the unemployedcompared to 8% for full-time workers. William Eaton, famous for his use of an epidemiologic approach, demonstrates that these unhealthy behaviors lead to chronic diseases: cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and musculoskeletal disorders. And even premature mortality….
It is frightening to see that these issues are even worse for young people & disadvantaged communities! The Youth Index 2014 shows that 40% of jobless young people experienced mental illness – including suicidal thoughts, feelings of self-loathing and panic attacks – as a direct result of unemployment. 25% of these youth have been prescribed anti-depressants and 32% have felt suicidal thoughts. The American Psychological Association also underlines the fact that negative effects of long-term unemployment are larger for black and Latino individuals.
By ignoring health issues related to unemployment, a huge mistake is being made. We are underestimating the pain of thousands of excluded people suffering from physical or mental health afflictions.
 
If a country is ever demoralized, it will come from trying to live without work.”  -Abraham Lincoln.
If we want to reduce health issues, it is our responsibility to strengthen local communities by empowering individuals to reach their full potential. That’s why we work at giving individuals the tools to succeed. To favor employment, we are developing work integration programs. Our model aims at providing “Jump Jobs” in our social enterprises to long-term unemployed people. For 2 years, we provide on-the job training through paid apprenticeship adding a valuable experience on their resume. Helping these people into proper work is absolutely vital. Working in our social enterprises gives them the satisfaction of being able to provide for their families as well as allowing them to build self-esteem. With our work integration social enterprises, we support them get back on their own two feet!
In the Bay Area, CALSO is developing job inclusion programs, capitalizing on business models which have been working for the past 15 years in Europe and abroad. With a positive and direct impact on more than 85% of our beneficiaries, our model of Work integration Social Enterprises (WISE) has proven successful in providing adequate job inclusion solutions as well as improving health condition for local communities.
If you want to support healthcare issues, have a look at job inclusion!
Tune into conversations with Nicholas at the SOCAP Health Conference, June 25 + 26.
Checkout the free conference livestream sponsored by the CDC. 
 


The psychological effects of unemployment, Eisenberg, P., & Lazarsfeld, P.F, 1938.
Marienthal: The sociography of an unemployed community, Jahoda, M., Lazarsfeld, P.F., & Zeisfel, H.,1933.
Labor market experience, work organization, gender inequalities and health status: result from a prospective analysis of US employed women, W.W. Eaton, P. O’Campo, and C. Muntaner, 2004.
Unemployment impairs mental health: Mental-analyses, by Karsten I.Paul, 2009.
Report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Annual Total Direct and Indirect Costs of Serious Mental Illnes, 2002.
Health, physical activity level, and employment status in Canada, J. P. Grayson, 1993.
National Survey on Drug Use and Health 2005-2011.
Labor market experience, work organization, gender inequalities and health status: result from a prospective analysis of US employed women, W.W. Eaton, P. O’Campo, , and C. Muntaner, 2004.
The Prince’s Trust Macquarie sixth annual Youth Index, 2014.
The Prince’s Trust Macquarie sixth annual Youth Index, 2014.
Exploring the link between unemployment and mental health outcomes, A. Goldsmith, T. Diette, 2012.

Impact Investing / Social Entrepreneurship / Sustainable Development
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