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Employment as wellness?


By Jessica Gant

By Jessica Gant

Employment that leads to health care benefits can quite literally save a person’s life.

Click here to read the entire March 2019 newsletter

Why occupation is a dimension of health

By strict definition, the term wellness is defined as the state of being in good health.

Eating well, exercise, drinking enough water or fluids, and periodic doctor check-ups, likely spring to mind. But, what about employment? According to the National Wellness Institute, one’s occupation is a key dimension of wellness. Your job affects your attitude and this ripples through other dimensions of wellness such as emotional, spiritual, social and even physical. If you’ve ever had a bad job, you know exactly how employment reverberates into other parts of your life.

Therefore, securing employment that is fulfilling advances wellness, reaping some obvious and not so obvious benefits. Having a steady income enables you to meet life’s obligations, provides access to housing, food, clothing, and transportation. And, when your job is fulfilling, you gain a higher sense of self-esteem and purpose. One not so obvious benefit is longer life. According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, higher earnings translates into a longer lifespan. People with greater wealth generally live longer and have lower rates of chronic disease and better functional status throughout life. They also have a reduced risk of obesity, hypertension, and asthma.

This brings us to an increasingly important benefit of employment today, health care coverage.

While almost all large companies offer health care coverage, according to the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, only 47% of private sector employers offered coverage in 2017. At Catholic Charities of Kansas City-St. Joseph, we often see individuals who have postponed health decisions due to a lack of coverage and/or affordability. This allows small health issues to fester into larger ones. Things like high blood pressure and diabetes can be managed if caught early, but, when deferred, can be deadly. Employment that leads to health care benefits can quite literally save your life.

In contrast to the benefits of employment, are the detriments of unemployment on one’s overall wellness. The unemployed are more likely to be diagnosed with depression, express feelings of worry and sadness, and, even show a significant deterioration in mental health.

This is why Catholic Charities of Kansas City-St. Joseph offers a variety of employment services including weekly workshops, one-on-one resume consultation, and a Job Club that allows clients to look for work in a supported manner. We also offer Employment Service Specialists who walk alongside clients in their quest to obtain or better their job status.

For more information, please contact Jessica Gant at jgant@ccharities.com or call (816) 659-8287

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