Economy and Psychology: As Spending Declines, Mental Health Needs Grow

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 John Smith, therapist in Bellingham, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • Collie


    July 19th, 2010 at 2:29 AM

    We have all come to be comfortable with our lives and this dip due to the recession is bound to take its toll on our psychology because we suddenly realize that we have lesser money to spend and do not enjoy the same freedom with accordance to buying everything that we needed.i have experienced this myself due to a pay-cut during the ongoing recession(thankfully I did not lose my job) and my advice to others who would be going through this is that it is a bit easier to deal with such an issue if we cut down on things that are not really necessary and also to be content with what we have rather than to moan about what we would have!

  • lynette


    July 19th, 2010 at 4:44 AM

    It is good news that in some parts of the world more attention is being paid to the mental health needs of the general population and that there is more spending going on in those areas to get help to those who need it. But we should not see that as a move to stop trying to get funding in other parts of the world. Right here in the US people are still struggling and suffering because there seems to be no end in sight for them of the recession- jobs are not coming back quickly and this has led to anger and depression in increasing numbers. I feel strongly that even after the jobs come back it is going to take a lot to undo the damage that has been done over the past several years to the psyches of thos who have had to get through this and have lost so much as a result. I hope that this means that tohers care in this same way and that funding for mental health services will not decrease simply because more people are getting back to work again.

  • O. Jackson

    O. Jackson

    July 19th, 2010 at 11:16 AM

    we Americans are not good savers and even countries like the UK and Hong Kong have proven to be better than us at saving. I say this because we should have made proper savings so as to have money for each one of us during this recession and also for the mental and in general health facilities.

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