Covid has sparked a tidal wave of job loss throughout the world. Not only does this affect people on a financial level, it can also take a seismic toll on mental health.
The shock of redundancy, the stress of starting again and the knock of confidence can be hard to overcome. If someone you know has experienced job loss or redundancy, it can be difficult to know what to do or what to say. Here are some effective ways you can support them.
The answer is yes. It can be awkward to know what to say. Some may attach feelings of shame to their situation or be embarrassed to ask for help. Please ignore these narratives and offer your support regardless. Job loss is not and should never be considered, a taboo subject.
Unemployment can be one of the most difficult things a person can go through. Offer empathy and hold off on giving advice at this stage. People may need to vent about what they’ve just experienced. Allow them to express themselves and share your thoughts, when asked.
Practise active listening and try to echo back what they are saying to you. Asking open ended questions such as “How are you feeling?” or “How is the search going?” will allow them to dictate what they would like to share, without feeling pressured.Being a sounding board for your friend or family member can help them to work through their own thought process and formulate a plan to move forward.
Help build self-esteem
For those who have experienced redundancy or long term unemployment, they may be struggling with a sense of purpose. If there was ever a moment to celebrate your friend, this is it.
Reminding them of all the ways they are loved and valued will help them monumentally. Reassuring them of their strengths and capabilities will be really helpful and can be a great exercise to help motivate them when applying for new opportunities.
Be proactive with your communication. Message or call to ask how they’re doing. Showing you’re thinking of them can make a world of difference.
Movement and socialisation are two cornerstones of solid wellbeing and can help your friend to recover from their setback. Try scheduling a weekly walk to catch up and get some fresh air. Getting the endorphins pumping has a positive effect on mood and energy levels.
Ask if they want support with the job search
Advice is welcome, as long as it is solicited. Ask your friend if they would appreciate help with the job search. By establishing this early on, you will not overstep any boundaries. You can brainstorm new opportunities together or take a look at online courses. Linkedin Learning are offering a great free course on bouncing back after a layoff which could be a good start.
If you think your friend could do with a little extra support around their mental health, give them information about supports and services available.
Job loss can send someone into a tailspin. Rebuilding a sense of confidence and control may not be easy, but with a good support system, the process can be a whole lot easier.