Job loss and financial stresses can, and often do, lead to depression and anxiety for those who are dealing with these struggles. In times of economic crises, when even more people could benefit from psychotherapy and other counseling services, these services are unfortunately harder to access. This is according to research from Brandeis University, published this month in the International Journal of Mental Health. Nationally and internationally, public and private funding to pay for or partially subsidize counseling has been consistently decreased, according to the research. In the United States, 32 state mental health services cut their budgets in 2009, and 14 states have eliminated Medicaid coverage for certain treatments, in addition to previous funding reductions.
However, there are some global bright spots in terms of mental health funding. The United Kingdom and Hong Kong have both made efforts to provide increased mental health support for their citizens. In Hong Kong, doctors and nurses are being trained in psychiatry basics, specifically for mental health issues having to do with economic recession and financial stresses. In the UK, counseling center staffing is being bolstered with additional staff, and 3,600 psychotherapists are receiving additional recession-related training.
Anxiety and depression can be triggered by any number of life stresses, and many people who struggle with low levels of the conditions may find their symptoms worsening as financial, vocational, and familial pressures rise. Seeking treatment in the form of counseling or group therapy can be exceptionally helpful on a number of levels. Firstly, these conditions can worsen over time, creating mental patterns and stresses that impact mental health and well being in all aspects of a person’s life. Depression and anxiety can lead to decreased physical health in the forms of poor sleep patterns and increased risk of heart disease. With unemployment numbers remaining high, funding and support for mental health services are especially pressing.
© Copyright 2010 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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