Addressing health impact of mass unemployment event


A preparedness and response framework published in the Journal of Public Health.
Work by Public Health Wales researchers on health and mass unemployment events (MUEs), led by Dr. Alisha Davies and including Lucia Homolova, Dr. Charlotte Grey and Professor Mark Bellis was recently published by the Journal of Public Health.
The paper reflects the team’s work on ‘Mass Unemployment Events (MUEs) – Prevention and Response from a Public Health Perspective which highlighted the impact of MUEs on the health of individuals affected.
Mass unemployment events are not uncommon yet the impact on the health and wellbeing of individuals, alongside potential financial and employment challenges, is not well recognised. The detrimental impacts can last for decades with family members sometimes affected almost as much as those facing redundancy.
Report author Dr Alisha Davies, Head of Research and Development at Public Health Wales, said:
“We know that employment and health are interlinked and that secure employment is good for our health.
“Unfortunately large scale redundancies do occur and the impact can be devastating for those directly employed, and can extend to individual’s families and communities.
“Internationally, these events are not uncommon, but there is much we can do to prevent, prepare and limit the impact on health when they do happen. Our paper draws on experiences in responding to past events to inform a framework with health and wellbeing at the core of preventative and responsive action.”
To address these issues the team developed a public health informed response to MUEs with eight key steps:
The eight-step framework identifies key priorities where public health approaches can help with early identification of areas at risk and ensuring responses address the health and wellbeing needs of all those affected including families, the wider community and specific vulnerable groups, such as the existing long term unemployed.
Other preventative measures identified in the report included longer term consideration of skills development, investment and diversification, social responsibility of employers, and increasing individual and community resilience.
The response framework is an important tool to inform action to minimise the consequences and harms of MUEs to population health.