Job Search Depression. Yes, it’s Real.

Unemployment and depression tend to go hand-in-hand and the pandemic certainly hasn’t helped. What we do for a living is a part of our identity and the hunt for work leaves many feeling rejected, anxious and pessimistic. Even those in the workforce are getting stressed out. Hence, “the great resignation” has businesses struggling to find and keep workers.

CAWD’s solution? Add 2 mental health professionals to our NCWorks Career Center team! One is a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) who can provide supportive interventions that will enable individuals to tackle challenges with renewed confidence. They will offer advice on career and life transitions, setting goals, and address emotional and mental health concerns surrounding unemployment. A behavioral health case manager is also onsite to specifically help reentry clients; men and women transitioning from incarceration to the workplace and community. Reentry clients have a myriad of challenges that can affect their mental health including existing mental health diagnoses and housing needs.

We are dedicated to providing exemplary services to customers, but also prioritize our own team members. As the saying goes, “You can’t pour from an empty glass.” The LCSW has provided educational tools dealing with the importance of self-care and the signs of burnout. Bonds with other community organizations have also been strengthened to bring more suggestions and services to customers. Tailored mental health training for staff and customers is coming soon starting with workshops on effective communication, setting boundaries, and coping with stress.

Last but not least, CAWD is partnering with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on their NC Works4Health research study. Health disparities faced by those living in poverty can be exacerbated by unemployment. Unhealthy coping mechanisms can lead to weight gain, high blood pressure, and mental distress, all of which can lead to the development of chronic diseases.

The research seeks to revise existing prevention programs that can be paired with employment assistance programs to make a positive impact on the health of vulnerable individuals. Participants can take part in lifestyle coaching that will focus on improving their diet, exercise, stress management, problem-solving skills, and ability to cope with change. Findings will not only advance the science of chronic disease prevention for this vulnerable target population but also inform public health and community efforts to address social determinants of health and reduce the burden of chronic disease.

CAWD strives to be a workforce development leader, advocate, and voice for all customers. Innovative solutions like these are indicative of our dedication and show how far we will go for the community!