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Stressed Out

A rising slump

March 23, 2009|Shari Roan

Eighty percent of Americans say the economy is a significant source of stress. The number, recorded in September 2008, was up from 66% in April 2008. Among those surveyed, 49% said they felt nervous or anxious; 48% reported feeling depressed or sad.

Calls to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline network ([800] 273-TALK) increased more than 20% from January 2008 to January of this year. Part of the rise probably can be attributed to increased awareness of the hotline, experts say, but the economy has also been a factor.

Requests for financial counseling in employee-assistance programs grew by 13% from August through December compared with the same period in 2007, increasing at a rate twice that of other employee-assistance program services. Among these requests, counseling related to serious financial issues increased markedly, including creditor problems, up 20%; collections, up 30%; and bankruptcy, up 24%.

A snapshot of three large psychiatric hospitals during the week of March 8: McLean Hospital, Belmont, Mass.: a 10% increase in inpatient admissions since Jan. 1, which has put the hospital at capacity almost every day this year. UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute anxiety clinic: a 15% to 20% increase in patients in the last month. The Menninger Clinic, Houston: a 25% to 30% increase in clients this year expressing anxiety related to financial issues.

One in 3 people going through foreclosure are clinically depressed.

-- Shari Roan

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Sources: 2008 survey from the American Psychological Assn.; Dr. Richard McKeon, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; Shepell-fgi Research Group; Dr. Craig Pollack, University of Pennsylvania

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