Studies Show Economy Driving More Americans to Seek Help from Mental Health System

When the economics within the family change for the worse, it stands to reason that anxiety, depression and stress would increase. According to the Tennessean, residents in Tennessee are turning to the mental health system in droves to cope with the emotional toll.

Dr. Thomas Lavie, medical director of the Vanderbilt Outpatient Psychiatry Clinic told the paper that his facility has seen a surge of new patients reporting mood disorders, panic attacks, insomnia and other such problems as a result of increased fears about their jobs, their ability to continue to provide for their families and their economic future.

A survey by the American Psychological Association found that 80 percent of Americans named the economy as a significant source of stress in their lives. Even with the majority of citizens still employed, providers find that most people have wondered or even worried that their workplace may be the next to be hit by a round of layoffs.

One licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist in the Nashville area, Carlton Cornett, noted that until recently, people were increasingly canceling therapy sessions as they were viewed as a luxury they could no longer afford. As stress levels continue to rise, the perception is changing and patients are deeming these sessions to be a near-necessity.

The stress of the economy is certainly taking its toll. The American Psychological Association survey found more people reporting stress-related physical and emotional problems in 2008 than in 2007. There was also a 50 percent jump in the reports of exhaustion, irritability, sleeplessness and anger.

There is still hope.

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