Uncertainty about the future and living often causes worry and stress. Just like any other change, unemployment can also be a crisis. Even the threat of unemployment may be burdening. Also fixed-term employment and irregular work may cause both financial and emotional uncertainty.

Being left outside working life may trigger feelings of anxiety, insecurity, fear, failure, anger and shame, amongst others. Being unemployed may undermine the feeling of being able to influence one's own life. People invest a lot in work or studying for it, and being left without work may be a big disappointment. Being made redundant in particular may cause feelings of inferiority and uselessness. In such cases, it is important to remember that work does not determine your value as a person. You are just as valuable when you are unemployed as you were before.

“When I was made redundant, I couldn't believe it at first. Later, I felt thoroughly ashamed, even though the redundancies were caused by the financial situation. Luckily my supervisor was able to explain things in an understandable way, even when I didn't think about it at the time.”

Difficulties finding employment may also lead to experiences of loneliness and detachment. In addition to financial issues, being unemployed may affect feelings of belonging: What is my role in this community? Especially if personal relationships are mainly linked to workplace, being left outside working life or irregular employment may also cause difficulties in friendships.

Financial difficulties of one family member are also reflected in the entire family. You may need to control the use of money more than before, and there may be changes in interaction between family members. Use of money or free time may lead to conflicts. Read more about telling children about financial difficulties.

Start early

It is good to start organizing things right away when you are informed that your employment is uncertain or that you will lose your job. Making a plan may help: What am I going to do next? Matters related to unemployment benefits should be arranged as soon as possible, applying for the benefits and subsidies you are entitled to.

You should also register as job seeker in the employment and economic development office (employment office). You may also contact parties offering employment services or send open applications, for example, to potential employers. Looking for a job may be stressful, but when you stay active right from the beginning, taking the first step start looking for work later is not as daunting.

Evaluate your situation in order to prepare for matters related to livelihood. Determining your expenses and income may help evaluate what kinds of things should be changed. The following questions may help:

  • How does being unemployed affect my life?
  • What can I do? What kind of help do I need?
  • What are my employment prospects? How long do I think I will be unemployed?
  • How do I see my future? On what kinds of things is my evaluation of the future based?
  • What does being unemployed mean for me?
  • What do I want from my future, what do I really want to do? How could I reach my goals?
  • Where can I find information and support?

Read more in the “Terveenä työttömyydestä” guide [Healthy in unemployment, in Finnish] in the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health site.

“Unemployment breaks up your everyday life and increases the amount of free time. Increased free time or problems with finding a job may lead one to think about what kind of job they would really enjoy. For some, this may lead to a desire to start studying or change to a different field of work.”

Long-term unemployment

Unemployment is considered long-term when it lasts for more than one year. Becoming unemployed may be the result of many different things. Especially during recession, many companies and operators have to let go of some of their employees and redundancies can not always be avoided. Or one may not find employment directly after graduation. Becoming ill or disabled may decrease the coping skills of those still employed.

Seeking a job often involves stress and you may not be able to find employment immediately. Looking for work requires a lot from the job seeker. A mismatch between the type of applicant and the type of job, for example, may make it more difficult to get a job, but also possibilities of finding work in a specific region may be poor.

Familiar routines help you to stay in touch with everyday life. Increased free time can also be utilised while looking for work. Joining in an activity, such as voluntary work, hobbies or possibly getting more education are worth your while. They bring experience and often also feelings of accomplishment. Also irregular work may increase possibilities for employment. They may help to find a more permanent job and when looking for employment, you are already able to show some proof of work experience and willingness to work.

“Increased unemployment has recently mostly affected young people and especially young men.”

Long-term unemployment and continuous job seeking may feel discouraging and cause feelings of helplessness and depression. The situation may be escalated by financial difficulties or problems with mental health, for example. If you are depressed or have financial trouble, you may not even be able to look for employment or stay active otherwise.

Staying alone in such a situation is not a good option. It's better to seek help. If your financial situation becomes more difficult, problems should not be ignored as that usually leads to even more problems. Where can I find help in financial difficulties?

If you are having difficulties managing at work because of a health issue, you should find out what rehabilitation possibilities are available. Employment and economic development office and KELA provide more information on rehabilitation. Depression, for example, can be treated. Finding employment is easier after rehabilitation.

Some diseases may lead to a situation where a person has to stop working for good. In such cases, study the possibilities for an unemployment pension.

Participating in activities supporting employment, such as employment training, practical work training or subsidised work, for example, is usually recommended. Read more on the available services on the Website of the employment and economic development office. Various services, such as training, career advice and practical work training are available for young people. Read more about services for young people. Also different types of workshops are available for young people in many parts of the country. They provide an opportunity to practice employment skills, prepare for training and, at the same time, meet other young people. Read more about workshops.

On the web

Employment and economic development office:

What to do if you become unemployed.

Also see the check list for job seekers.

Employment and economic development offices offer the following services, amongst others: job seeking planning and employment services, career information and education planning services, services promoting employment, such as advice on unemployment benefits and practical work training.

Unemployment fund:

If you are a member of an unemployment fund, you will be paid earnings-related benefits from your own unemployment fund.

Read more about earnings-related allowance of unemployment funds.


If you are not a member of an unemployment fund, you can apply for basic unemployment allowance or labour market subsidy from KELA.

You can also read more about legislation related to unemployment security.

Social services:

Apply income support from the social welfare office of your municipality.

Also see the article on livelihood of people receiving mental health rehabilitation on this site for various types of benefits and allowances.