SAMHSA Offers Guide for Health Issues Related to Financial Stress

A new online guide provides information and resource referrals for people dealing with emotional or other health problems associated with economic hard times. The “Getting Through Tough Economic Times” guide (http://www.samhsa.gov/economy) provides practical advice on identifying health concerns, developing coping skills and finding help.

Developed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in collaboration with other government agencies and the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, which is administered by SAMHSA’s grantee the Educational Development Center, Inc., the guide outlines the risks that unemployment and other forms of economic distress (foreclosure, severe financial losses, etc.) can pose to health.

Based on a review of the scientific literature published in the last 20 years, the guide notes that although these economic problems may affect individuals differently, for many people economic hardship contributes to increased risk for a variety of conditions including:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Compulsive Behaviors (over-eating, excessive gambling, spending, etc.)
  • Substance abuse

The guide also provides individuals and communities with practical steps that can be used to get through these tough periods and achieve restored health and productivity. In particular the guide provides:

  • Important information on identifying the warning signs of depression, suicidal thinking and other serious mental illnesses.
  • Effective steps to help manage emotional distress, such as through exercise, strengthening connections with family and friends, and developing new job skills.
  • Resources for getting help -- such as the National Mental Health Information Center http://mentalhealth.samhsa.gov/databases/ for information on where to access help on a wide range of mental illnesses, and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ or 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for those in crisis. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is operated by SAMHSA’s grantee Link2HealthSolutions, Inc, under a cooperative agreement.

“The guide is a quick and easy tool that people can use to better manage their emotional wellbeing,” said SAMHSA Acting Administrator Eric Broderick, D.D.S., M.P.H. “By helping people remain resilient, we can help promote the overall recovery of our nation.”

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