COVID-19 and Jobs, Unemployment, and Physical and Mental Health Issues
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has been associated with mental health challenges related to the morbidity and mortality caused by the disease and to mitigation activities, including the impact of physical distancing and stay-at-home orders. These impacts are likely to be even larger than what we have seen in previous disasters like Hurricane Maria, given the distinctive qualities of the pandemic as a disaster. For months, the coronavirus has crawled across the globe. One person at a time, it has passed through millions of people, reaching every corner of the globe. And it has not only infected people, but every aspect of our lives and cultures. And, while it is challenging to combat the disease in developed countries, undeveloped countries face even graver challenges. Combating the spread is difficult, and social isolation has remained near impossible. But what if the response to the crisis is everyone—absolutely everyone—stays home? I wish for an “opening up” but if we are home—and we haven’t figured out the school and even college issue—then it all seems beside the point. The world has changed significantly since March 2020. Nothing has remained the same. Along with job problems, collecting unemployment, and physical and mental health issues, the pandemic has created tremendous labor market disruptions and profound hardship throughout the United States and the world.
According to the FRBSF Economic Letter, “The official April employment report released on May 8 showed that unemployment rose to 14.7%, a huge increase but below our projection. However, the report also noted a significant increase in the number of workers on unpaid absences, likely reflecting virus-reflected business closures.” (Petrosky-Nadeau) This citation indicates, it is ultimately a stopgap measure—essential workers’ low wages reflect long-standing policy failures and illustrate the need for permanent reforms. However, I believe that the government should really pay more attention to those frontline workers who risk themselves to help others during the pandemic. Those workers leave their families at home, and work to support their families and have a better life.
According to "For the Newly Jobless, Relief Is Hard to Find," "the $1200 stimulus payment also leaves out some of America's neediest. The estimated 8 million undocumented immigrants working in the U.S. can't get checks. It's unclear how people dependent on Supplemental Security Income, many of whom do not file taxes because of meager incomes, will receive funds. The Social Security Administration has said it's "working closely" with the Treasury to determine this.” (Semuels) This quote exhibits how hundreds of immigrants who were left out of not receiving the stimulus check that the government gave in mid of April to all the employees who were or still not working in their company due to the bankruptcy that their company may have had during the pandemic. It is heartbreaking to know that many immigrants couldn’t receive the stimulus checks just because they are not citizens; this is not fair because they deserve an opportunity to feel the same satisfaction as others. America should do better on this because we are humans too like everyone else who comes to the US to live a better lifestyle and also these people should be compensated!
On the downside, other people would think that they shouldn’t receive the stimulus checks because they are NOT part of this country and they don’t have the skills that they are interested in. Over time, they accumulated experience and achievements. On the other hand, the benefits that immigrants supply when it comes to innovation are impressive. People should start paying attention to the people who really work super hard to have better resources in their lives.
In addition to the disparities of stimulus payments, there are long-term health issues. According to “COVID‐19 Health Anxiety”, “In the middle of the pandemic it is perfectly reasonable for people experiencing symptoms to attribute them to coronavirus infection. But what happens later? COVID‐19 is not going to disappear suddenly. There will be a long period, possibly extending over several years, in which there will still be the danger of infection, and this is when pathological COVID anxiety will occur.” In addition to this matter, this quote talks about how anxiety could be recognized in distinct ways in health, but for some reason this type of anxiety could not be figured out as pathological. The interesting fact about this quote is that it is normal that people feel this type of symptoms in their body because these symptoms come from this virus that has caused fears and isolation of not interacting with your loved ones. Finally, COVID-19 will remain and stay for a prolonged period until they find the vaccine to cure everyone who got opposed with the virus.
The long term effect of the pandemic can lead to depression and anxiety which can also lead to higher suicides rates. Wasserman and Danuta in “Adaptation of Evidence‐based Suicide Prevention Strategies during and after the COVID‐19 Pandemic” states, “An estimate of the impact of the COVID‐19 recession forecasts a 3.3% to 8.4% increase in suicide rate in the US. However, previous research also shows that policy responses and governmental expenditures may be able to mitigate the impact of unemployment and economic crises on suicide rates.” (Wasserman). What the text is trying to emphasize to us is that COVID-19 has affected or caused more death during this abhorrent time in the most sinister way of people taking their lives, an 8.4% increase in deaths due to the anxiety and isolation that they were facing. Therefore, some earlier researchers have shown throughout the years that suicide is one of the major causes of death in some countries and states.
Another report shows us that, “It has been calculated that, for each US$10 per person increased investment in these policies, the effect of unemployment on suicides was reduced by 0.038%. In another study, it has been reported that the same amount of increased spending would correspond to a 0.026% decrease in male suicide rates” (Wasserman and Danuta). In addition to this matter, we could tell that for each US$10 increased the investment because of unemployment suicides that people are having during the COVID. In another study, it has been reported the same amount corresponds to 0.026% of the male's suicides.
Overall, the analysis of risk and protective factors shows that most of them the pandemic may have both positive and negative impacts on those people who consider suicide themselves due to the pressure that they might be feeling. However, the negative effect appears to be greater than before. Thus, the foreseen increase of mental health issues and suicides is likely to happen. The purpose of this is because those people sometimes don't have the resources of getting help from professional clinicians who could help them to boost their quality of life.
Finally, what should be done going forward in this pandemic? Government stimulus payments should consider all workers, legal or otherwise, in economic relief, especially front-line workers. Employers should be proactive in encouraging supportive care in an atmosphere free of stigma, coercion, and fear of negative consequences. Specifically, employers should give their front-line workers paid time off due to the pressures and risks in their job. The best way of approaching this pandemic is by giving the brain an opportunity to pause amidst the chaos, to untangle information, and to sort through observations and experiences. This means learning from the pandemic to then inform future mindsets and actions because there may be another one.
Petrosky-Nadeau N, Valletta RG. An Unemployment Crisis after the Onset of COVID-19.
FRBSF Economic Letter. May 2020:1-5. Accessed November 30, 2020.
Semuels A. For the Newly Jobless, Relief Is Hard to Find.
TIME Magazine. 2020;195(14):5-6. Accessed November 30, 2020.
Tyrer, Peter. "COVID‐19 Health Anxiety." World Psychiatry 19.3 (2020): 307-08. Web.
Wasserman, Danuta, Iosue, Miriam, Wuestefeld, Anika, and Carli, Vladimir.
"Adaptation of Evidence‐based Suicide Prevention Strategies during and
after the COVID‐19 Pandemic." World Psychiatry 19.3 (2020): 294-306. Web.