| October 7, 2009

Financial difficulties may be fueling depression

Mounting debt problems and falling personal finances are taking their toll on more than just people’s pocketbooks.

A recent survey – which was commissioned through a partnership between Mental Health America, the National Alliance on Mental Illness and the Depression is Real Coalition – shows that tough times for the economy are taking a toll on people’s mental health. Unemployed respondents were four times more likely to report symptoms that coincide with severe mental illness than people who were employed.

David L. Shern, who holds a doctorate and is president and chief executive officer of Mental Health America, noted that people who are feeling the brunt of economic difficulties affect their mental well-being should talk to someone about it. That could include a friend or mental health professional.

"This survey clearly shows that economic difficulties are placing the public’s mental health at serious risk, and we need affirmative action to address these medical problems," Shern said.

However, the survey shows that many people are finding it difficult to talk to health professionals because they lack the financial means to do so. Of respondents who have not talked to a professional, 42 percent said it was because of the cost of doing so or because they did not have health coverage.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention there are a number of signs that a person may be dealing with depression. Those include feelings of hopelessness or guilt, decreased energy, and losing interest in pleasurable activities.

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