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Women's Mental Health Hit Hard by Recession, Yet Many Show Resilience and Resourcefulness in Coping With Stress
Date:4/29/2009

-- New survey shows women focus on others, at expense of their own mental health --

ARLINGTON, Va., April 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- More than two-thirds of American women interviewed for a survey released today by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) say that the nation's sagging economy has negatively affected their lives or the lives of their loved ones. The findings also indicate women may be neglecting their own needs while focusing on other concerns.

This two-pronged telephone survey examines the impact of the economic crisis on the mental well-being of women both nationally and in Clinton County, Ohio, where survey respondents report significantly higher levels of hardship amid deep job cuts by air freight giant DHL, which has devastated the local economy.

Women in the survey report sharp increases in stress, anxiety, frustration and other negative mental health indicators since the recession took hold last fall, with job loss pushing these increases even higher. And while more than three-quarters of these women report engaging in one or more positive coping strategies, most tend to prioritize family and other financial responsibilities ahead of their own needs - a tendency that can backfire despite the best of intentions.

"Women will take care of their families before making sure they have what they need to stay healthy. If at all possible, they should avoid spending cuts on activities and resources that can help maintain their own health," said APA President Nada L. Stotland, M.D., M.P.H. "For instance, keep up the gym membership, even if it means you can't give your kids the latest electronics. Take time to exercise and eat right. The bottom line is that taking care of your mental health is necessary to your ability to care for your family."

In this national telephone survey, women rank the ability to provide food, clothing and education for their familie
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SOURCE American Psychiatric Association
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