The economic downturn has led to a spike in the demand for psychological crisis services, according to several sources.
In New York, calls to Hopeline, a telephone crisis service for people experiencing severe depression, increased by about 75% between the summer of 2007 and the summer of 2008. Hopeline received a record 10,368 calls in July of this year, and expects a continued climb as the economy worsens. The incumbent potential damage to self-esteem, hopefulness, relaxation, and other areas of ego, strength, and functionality also increase nationwide.
Meanwhile, the ComPsych Corporation of Chicago, the world’s largest provider of employee assistance, saw an increase of 21% in stress-related requests for services in that same one-year period. Elsewhere, hospital admissions for psychiatric services are up 10%, according to UnitedHealth Group Inc., the largest health insurance company in the United States. Richard Chaifetz, CEO of ComPsych, reported that “the 9/11 spike was probably higher initially, but this has been more sustained.”
A poll conducted this past spring by the American Psychological Association found that 75% of Americans report stress due to financial problems. A similar poll one year ago put the number at half of the respondents, who said financial stress is hurting their professional and personal lives. “We’ve reached a tipping point where anxiety about the economy is pervasive,’ said Dan Abrahamson, an executive at APA. “The stresses and anxieties are there all the time; you can’t get them out of your mind.’
Therapists should be aware that all clients are likely to experience an increase in stress during a recession, even those with steady incomes and strong assets.
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