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Economic Downturn Taking Toll on Americans' Mental Health
Date:10/6/2009

Other key findings of the survey:

  • Thirteen percent of unemployed individuals report that they have thought of harming themselves which is four times more than reported by persons with full time work.
  • People who are unemployed are approximately six times as likely to have difficulty meeting household expenses - 22 percent report great difficulty paying their utilities and almost half have significant difficulty in obtaining healthcare further compounding their situation.
  • People who are unemployed are also twice as likely to report concern with their mental health or use of alcohol or drugs within the last six months than individuals working full time.
  • Of those who have not spoken to a health professional about these concerns, 42 percent cited cost or lack of insurance coverage as the main reason.
  • Nearly 20 percent of the sample reported that they had experienced a forced change (e.g. pay cuts, reduced hours) in their employment during the last year.
  • Although most of these individuals are employed, individuals with a forced change in employment are twice as likely to report symptoms consistent with severe mental illness than would be expected. They are also five times more likely to report feeling hopeless most or all of the time than individuals who hadn't experienced a forced change.

Major depression is a serious medical illness affecting 15 million American adults, or approximately 5 to 8 percent of the adult population in a given year, whether they are unemployed or not. Depression is also very treatable. In fact, treatment such as antidepressants and talk therapy is effective over 80 percent of the time.

But fewer than half of people confronting this medical illness seek treatment, regardless of economic or employment status.

Individuals can go to www.mentalhealthscreening.org to find out about free,
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SOURCE Mental Health America; National Alliance on Mental Illness
Copyright©2009 PR Newswire.
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