In an article by Michael Luo in today’s New York Times, he cites a growing body of research that indicates the terrible toll that plant closings and pink slips can have on older employees. According to Luo, “One 2006 study by Yale University epidemiologists found that layoffs more than doubled the risk of heart attack and stroke among older workers.
“Another paper, published last year by sociology professor Katie W. Strully of the Sate University of New York at Albany, found that a person who lost a job had an 83 percent greater chance of developing a stress-related health problem, like diabetes, arthritis or psychiatric issues.” A third study in 2009 concluded that, in the short term, death rates for senior male executives during the 1980s recession rose 50 to 100 percent in the year after job loss. “Even 20 years later, deaths were 10 to 15 percent higher. That meant that a worker who lost his job at age 40 had his life expectancy cut by 1 to 1 and1/2 years.”
The threat to health affects even people who are employed. My own clients cite worry over possible job loss or significant stress caused by added workload imposed by management to offset job layoffs.
Our good health is the most important element in our lives. Regardless of whether you are employed or laid off, I implore you to have a comprehensive physical examination by your primary care physician. Even if you are feeling OK, if you have not had a physical in the past two years, do so now. Furthermore, if you are experiencing anxiety, depression, or grief, talk to you PCP about a referral to a psychologist or psychiatrist for counseling or medication. My recommendation goes double for you macho dudes who deny the warning signs. Life is too precious to be thrown away.