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Wear the Gown: Psychological impact on men during coronavirus pandemic can be especially heavy

Millions have lost jobs during the coronavirus pandemic, but the emotional impact of unemployment can be especially hard on men.

HOUSTON — Tens of millions of people have lost their jobs during the coronavirus pandemic, but the emotional impact of unemployment can be especially hard on men.

“For men, in particular, or people who are the heads of their household, it can be a huge identity shift,” said Dr. Jennifer Hughes, a licensed clinical psychologist with UT Physicians.

The stress of unemployment can quickly turn into depression and feelings of shame can cause men to isolate themselves. Hughes encourages men to give themselves time to grieve and then focus on the facts.

“Instead of sitting in all of that emotion, if you focus on the facts and what you can do, it will give someone a sense of control and build a pathway forward,” she said.

Mindfulness and meditation are always helpful but Hughes said exercise helps release pent-up anger and energy. She also encourages those who have lost their jobs to be careful about unhealthy habits, like binge drinking and drug use.

And if dealing with unemployment is unbearable, she said men and women should reach out for professional help.

“With all of the social and cultural barriers we’ve put up about seeking help, for men to do so, it’s an even bigger act of bravery,” she said.

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