As it stands, nearly 40 million people are out of work as the COVID-19 crisis ravages the economy. In the latest week, more than 2.4 million people filed for unemployment claims. However, Headspace’s U.S. Unemployment Stress Index Report shows the growing ranks of jobless aren’t the only ones facing fear of the future, as even those who are employed are getting nervous.
“We’re seeing a consistent increase in stress and anxiety about the state of the economy,” Dr. Megan Jones Bell, Headspace’s Chief Scientific Officer told Yahoo Finance’s The First Trade last week.
The data’s respondents show that a “majority fear they will lose their job in the next six months, or have their salaries cut, and they think that actually their mental health is more important since this outbreak began,” Jones Bell added.
Meanwhile, across the nation, lockdown mandates are beginning to ease as economies plan reopening measures. Yet many American workers remain at home, isolated from family, friends and glued to their computer screens and mobile devices.
Headspace’s data found that nearly half of those Americans who remained employed feel that they must work even harder and longer hours to prove their worth to management.
Meanwhile, 54% admit that they’ve experienced trouble sleeping at least once per week due to concerns over job stability.
Unemployment and identity
For those who did file for unemployment, Jones Bell also noted how the process tends to affect the mental state of applicants.
“Unemployment is known to actually cause symptoms of anxiety, depression, low self esteem. And so beyond just the financial impact job loss, it really can impact a sense of identity,” Bell told Yahoo Finance.
“It can activate you know, chronic stress related physical conditions but it has an outsized impact on people's mental health,” she added.
For this reason Headspace, widely known for its meditation app, is offering a full year of Headspace Plus for free to those who have let go from their jobs.
“It's important for us to not take the social distancing as emotional distancing,” she said. “And really, while we are physically apart from one another, we can still find ways of connecting with loved ones and getting the emotional support that we do you need throughout this crisis.”
Brooke DiPalma is a producer for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter at @BrookeDiPalma.