Americans who are unemployed or underemployed face greater risk of severe mental illness, Mental Health America (MHA) said on Thursday.
Unemployed Americans are four times more likely than those with jobs to report symptoms of severe mental illness, such as major depression, said MHA, citing a survey of 1,002 adults aged 18 and older.
As for people who were forced to accept work changes, such as reduced hours or pay cuts, they were twice as likely to have symptoms, said the health group.
The survey was conducted last month by MHA, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and the Depression Is Real Coalition.
The three groups released the findings to coincide with Mental Illness Awareness Week (Oct. 4-10) and National Depression Screening Day (Oct. 8).
"This survey clearly shows that economic difficulties are placing the public's mental health at serious risk, and we need affirmative action to address these medical problems," said David L. Shern, president and CEO of MHA.
"Individuals confronting these problems should seek help for their problems -- talk to their doctor, trusted friend or advisor or mental health professional," he said.
"Unemployment today stands at almost 10 percent. Nationwide, we face a mental health crisis as well as an economic crisis," Michael J. Fitzpatrick, executive director of the NAMI, said in a press release.