Thinking back to when we were in high school, we all had dreams and made plans for how we wanted to live our lives after high school. We have all been sold the dream that once you pass high school really well, get into a really good university, stay focused, get good grades and a good job is guaranteed but as a fellow graduate, I learned the hard way that no matter how hard you work, getting a job is not easy at all.
South Africa has a high unemployment rate and the numbers keep rising every year. The government can blame it on the pandemic all they want but this has been a problem for years now. According to Statista, the youth unemployment rate in 2020 was 55.75% (Youth unemployment rate...2021). Certain parts of the world share the same problem and due to the pandemic, the unemployment problem has become even bigger.
What I have come to notice, or more so experience with unemployment is that unemployment affects ones mental health in a serious way. This period is very testing and your mind drifts off too so many places especially if you have nothing to do with your day. You start to overthink every decision you've ever made, what you could possibly be doing wrong or even obsessing over things that are probably not good for you.
The biggest effective of unemployed is probably depression, and depending on your circumstances and environment, it is so easy to fall into a deep depression. According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, the risk of depression is higher among the unemployed than among the employed, but little is known about the relationship between unemployment and mental health among emerging adults (Unemployment and Depression...2015). Many people fall into depression for many reasons and for the youth, there are so many obstacles that we have to go through during this phase in our lives and one of those this is the lack of youth employment. Imagine being a fresh out of university graduate, and you are expected to have at least two years of experience. And this is for an intern role. Where is this experience suppose to come from when no one is willing to hire us.
This situation causes a lot of stress and could lead to substance abuse and other unhealthy habits. It's so easy to lose focus when everyday you are subjected to unread emails, unopened applications and those "we regret to inform you" emails that we receive on the daily. It makes you realise that no matter how hard you try, no matter how much you improve you CV and cover letter, unless you are exactly what the company is looking for, your chances are slim to none.
But I don't want to leave this conversation on a bad note. Even though finding a job is hard and can test your mental state, it is important to never give up and to keep on trying. Once a opportunity is handed to you, don't waste it because believe it or not, all experience counts and can be beneficial for your career in one way or the other.
Our future is in our hands now and if you have the opportunity to do something or start something, do it, clearly nothing will just be given to us but we have the knowledge, ability and skills to achieve whatever we want and it's time we realise that.
Our mental state is so important for how we make decisions, how we treat others and how we navigate our next moves in life. It's key to keep ourselves busy with something during the day and not feel like we are living the same day over and over.
We are skilled, we are important and things will change. Our mental health is important and we cannot let the hardships of life affect our overall happiness.
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