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Impact of layoffs on mental health: Here's how to support yourself

If you've ever been laid off and it was not your decision, the situation can often feel like things are spiralling out of control. The uncertainty, the rejection from those who once depended on you, a sudden loss of identity can all take a toll on your mental health. And what makes end-of-year layoffs even worse is that many people will be dealing with financial instability, which often leads to feelings of inadequacy and depression. So how do we keep our mental health in check when we're faced with such difficult emotions?

1. Connect with likeminded people: If you're in a situation where you've been laid off, many people in the same boat with you are noticing the same things. They will also be generally concerned about their futures and where they'll be put next year. The best thing you can do is reach out to a friend or an acquaintance who has been through the same thing, and ask them how they're doing. Many people can benefit from talking to someone who has experienced what they are going through, because having someone else to vent to can help relieve anxiety and stress.

2. Kick the bad habits: If you've been laid off, it is perfectly normal to feel discouraged and down about the situation. But if you're feeling a lot of anxiety, depression and idleness because of your situation, try and curb those feelings by doing what you can. Go on a run, or force yourself to work out at the gym even though you don't really want to; these activities will shift your focus from your worry to positive physical activity that keeps your mind off things while getting your body in shape. If you're constantly thinking about how terrible things are, it may be a sign that you need help. Many people going through layoffs have reported feeling a lot of rage and anger, so if you sense any thoughts or tendencies of violence or self-harm, look for help right away.

3. Stay in touch with your loved ones: When you're faced with adversity and failure, it is easy to start isolating yourself and fearing being rejected by those around you. Make sure to keep up with loved ones who are able to hang out with you during this difficult time. They will be able to provide positive reinforcement, comfort, advice and support as well as a listening ear.

4. Seek counselling: If you feel like these efforts mentioned above aren't enough to keep your mental health in check, there are other resources available to you. There are a variety of people who can help with everything from individual and group therapy all the way up to psychiatric services and prescription medication. This can help those who feel they might be slipping into depression or violence, and provide some much-needed perspective and advice for those who are having trouble knowing where to turn next.

5. Have a support system in place: Even if your laid-off situation was your decision, financial instability can lead to overwhelming anxiety and depression. However, you don't have to deal with it alone. Make sure to keep in touch with family and friends who can help you through these tough times and raise your spirits when they start to sag.

6. Try to minimise negativity: It is incredibly important that you keep a positive attitude when going through something as difficult as being laid off. You may be feeling negative, but it is critically important to use your negativity as motivation to stay positive. Look for ways to take advantage of unexpected situations. Perhaps this will be a time for you to pursue your dreams and try something new, or reconnect with old people who can help you get back on track. The most critical thing to do is look for happiness in the midst of uncertainty and chaos, and try your best not to let fear get the best of you.

7. Stay busy: This is a very hectic time, so it is important to have a lot of activities in your life that will distract you from getting down. If you have kids, staying involved in their lives can really help take your mind off things. It is also good to remember that being laid off won't last forever, and the right opportunity might be right around the corner.

8. Start writing: If you think you're starting to get too down on yourself, try writing down how you feel. Writing down how you feel can help you realise that it's okay and that almost everyone else is going through the same thing. Writer's Block provides a platform for people to write and share their stories with others. You'll be able to vent your feelings from getting laid off, learn from other people who have been laid off, and be able to move on with your life knowing something good will eventually come of it all.

9. Check out the App Store/Play Store: There are a multitude of apps that you can use to help keep your mind off everything, including ones that will help you relieve stress and get some positive thinking done. These resources don't always have to be in the form of technology, though. Find the things you love and do them often, because those simple things will get your mind off of the situation at hand and make it easier for you to focus on something else.

10. Be patient: Be prepared for an extremely difficult time for months and even years ahead; it may take that long to find a new job in your field or start working on some different projects. If you have a lot of support around you, that can help tremendously. If not, don't lose hope, as it will probably get better in the future. Things will get easier, and in the meantime, try to find all of the positivity you can in order to help your situation.

11. Take action: Do something to show that you're serious about giving yourself the best chance at finding a job or starting something new. This may mean stopping what you're doing and taking some time off of work to find a new position, go back to school until you qualify for unemployment or start some other kind of project that requires your attention and hard work.


Being laid off is a terrible feeling, but it doesn't have to lead to depression or violence. By staying patient and finding support from loved ones and friends along the way, you can stop feeling so down about your situation and start taking action to make things better.

Instead of being down about the layoff, make use of this time for yourself by building your resume and searching for new jobs in your field. If you're having trouble in this area, ask around for a good head-hunter who can help you look for work opportunities.

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