Job loss and looking after your mental health

Losing your job, losing work or not having enough work is a difficult experience for most people.

No matter how it happens, unexpectedly losing income causes emotional stress and financial stress.

It can also affect your mental health and wellbeing, relationships, family and how you see the future.

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How losing your job could affect you

Losing your job stirs up many different feelings.

It’s common to experience a range of emotional reactions to unexpected loss or changes in life.

You might feel angry, guilty, worthless, sad, powerless or helpless, or a sense of shock.

In addition to other feelings of stress, you might be feeling:
  • anger, frustration, embarrassment or a sense of injustice
  • doubt, confusion, or loss of direction
  • numbness, disbelief or a feeling that it can’t be real
  • grief over the loss of your job (and what comes with it – like activity, security and relationships)
  • uncertainty and worry for the future
  • worried about money.
You might also be wondering what you could have done differently to avoid this outcome.

For most people, these feelings and thoughts will get better with time and support. It's an important time to look after your mental health to help you navigate your next steps.

How to look after yourself after job loss

Some things are out of your control. But there are things you can do to help you gain a sense of control over your situation.

Prioritise your wellbeing

It can help to:

  • talk to friends and family members
  • try to limit alcohol and other substances
  • consider what you information you consume as it may increase your stress 
  • prioritise planning of how you’ll find your next job
  • be patient with yourself – it can take time to work through. 
There are many other things you can do to look after your mental health and wellbeing. Some are simple, others more challenging. Making a plan is a great place to start.

Learn more ways to look after your mental health and wellbeing

Money, stress and loss of work

Losing work often comes with financial worry. This is an important time to take steps to look after your finances.

Managing money stress

Many people feel uncomfortable thinking or talking about money troubles. It's common to try and ignore it, or not know where to start. Actions you can take include:
  • acknowledge the link between money stress and mental health 
  • start taking steps to look at your financial situation (this might include making a budget or contacting your bank) 
  • seek mental health support to help with the stress that often comes with financial challenges.
Don’t delay – the earlier you seek support for both money stress and mental health, the better.

Find support for your financial wellbeing

  • Moneysmart – providing free tools, tips and guidance to help you take care of your money.
  • National Debt Helpline – find information and resources as well as free advice and support from qualified financial counsellors.

Beyond Blue’s work in financial wellbeing

Learn more about the link between money and mental health, and find Beyond Blue’s Services guide for financial and mental wellbeing.

Supporting someone who has lost their job

If someone you care about has lost their job, and you’re concerned about the impact on their wellbeing, have a conversation with them.

Learn how to talk to someone you’re worried about at work.
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Further resources

  • Mindspot– for free online personalised mental health care.

  • AskIzzy– a free and anonymous service that connects people in need with housing, a meal, money help, family violence support, counselling and more.

  • Services Australia: Recently unemployed – help and resources for if you have recently lost your job or had to stop working.

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