The 'sad' truth behind unemployment

By Julianne Peixoto

June 19, 2014 Updated Jun 20, 2014 at 12:00 AM EDT

Vestal, NY (WBNG Binghamton) A recent Gallup survey revealed a startling correlation between unemployment and depression.

One in five Americans who have been unemployed for a year or more suffer from depression, and 12.4 percent of unemployed people are being treated for depression versus 5.6 percent of those employed with full time jobs.

"We know that depression makes it harder to get up in the morning, it makes it harder to concentrate and remember things, so that can make it harder to apply for jobs and keep jobs," said psychology professor at Binghamton University Brandon Gibb. "But we also know that if you are having a hard time getting a job or if you're having financial problems, it's gonna make you more depressed, so it feeds back on itself in a vicious cycle."

The current unemployment rate in Broome County is 6.1 percent.

To help combat local unemployment, the New York Civic League sponsored a discussion forum Thursday night to discuss the need for job opportunities in the community.

"We're trying to get the government, business, and everyday people to come together and find out what's the problem here in Broome County and how we can create jobs," said Endwell resident Al Belardinelli. "I don’t know anyone in this area who hasn’t experienced some sort of setback in their life, unemployment, losing jobs."

Gibb said it can be difficult to discern the difference between typical mood swings and depression.

"The diagnostic criteria for depression are feeling depressed most of the day nearly every day for 2 weeks, having difficulty concentrating, having difficulty sleeping, your weight and appetite changing, thoughts of death, in such a way that it starts interfering with things going on in your life, so it interferes with relationships or with your typical activities," Gibb said. "Depression is a real problem and it’s different than just a normal bad mood."

Gibb encouraged anyone who experiences symptoms like those mentioned, to seek help. He also had advice for people struggling through the job-hunt process:

"Keep plugging away and trying and also remember to have other fun things in your life going on, other things that give you a sense of accomplishment or that you can enjoy doing."

The Greater Binghamton Career Fair will take place on Friday, June 20, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the SUNY Broome Ice Center -- an event that Gibb said would be beneficial for anyone currently on the job search.