Social Determinants of Health: Economic Stability and Employment
As we round out our insights into the five-spoked social determinants of health wheel, our Senior Director of Digital Products Nader Hawit is back, this time to discuss the importance behind economic stability and how it directly correlates to employment opportunities and access to jobs.
Sense of Purpose
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the most recent studies show that almost 4% of the U.S. population is unemployed. This, among with many other alarming unemployment statistics, directly correlates to an individual’s social determinants of health. With economic stability and employment barriers, communities nationwide find themselves picking and choosing between mental and physical health, living conditions, community wellbeing, and more.
Economic stability and employment can create a sense of purpose for an individual by providing financial security, a sense of identity and accomplishment, and opportunities for social interaction and networking. It can also lead to important benefits that individuals rely on every day.
How Can Benefits Help?
Employment provides substantial benefits to both personal and societal health. When employment opportunities include benefits, it opens the doors to access healthcare services, financial aid, and more. From an employer’s perspective, offering benefits to employees is also important because it shows them their employer is invested in not only their overall health, but their future.
Opening the door to more resources provides a company with hardworking employees who are prepared to go above and beyond to make sure they maintain the benefits provided to them. It’s a win-win. When topics like mental health are addressed by employers, companies take social determinants of health head on to allow needed—and deserved—access to health and wellness options. At the end of the day, happy and healthy employees contribute to the company’s success, and also an individual’s overall economic stability.
The Impact on Broader Health Outcomes
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation says, “A good-paying job makes it easier for workers to live in healthier neighborhoods, provide quality education for their children, secure child care services, and buy more nutritious food, all of which affect good health.” Unemployed Americans face numerous health challenges, even beyond loss of income. But providing people with job security allows those basic health needs to be covered by benefits, financial aid, and other pros that help positively affect social determinants of health.
The sacrifices people have to choose between, or choose not to do in general, link to the lack of economic stability a job can provide. Outside of physical health downfalls, mental health can also be affected due to loss of job, or lack thereof. Healthy People 2030 conducted a study that showed that those who are unemployed report feelings of depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, demoralization, worry, physical pain, and more. Their study concluded that additional research is needed to better understand the effects of employment on health, but it is important to promote interventions and more studies addressing disparities in employment and health.
Transportation Opens the Door
Transportation is an important pillar that directly correlates to access to employment, leading to economic stability. MTM focuses on the tools we have to help people get to and from their line of work, including job training, job fairs, community resources, and more.
MTM has been removing access barriers in communities since 1995. We are a reliable transportation partner across the nation that helps bridge the gap between community members and resources. MTM actively supports transportation to community career fairs and vocational training, and also offers a wide range of employment opportunities. Transportation truly opens doors for many, and we are proud to be part of the positive impact it has on social determinants of health!