Unemployed and Down in the Dumps

The current recession is taking a toll on the mental health of the ranks of unemployed and underemployed. The risk of severe depression is four times greater for those without a job than those who are working – according to a recent national survey conducted by Mental Health America, the National Alliance on Mental Illness and the Depression Is Real Coalition. And those people still lucky enough to be employed, but who were coerced into reduced hours or pay cuts, were twice as likely to have symptoms.

The findings were released during Mental Illness Awareness Week that recently took place on Oct. 4-10.

According to Michael J. Fitzpatrick, Executive Director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, “Unemployment today stands at almost 10 percent. Nationwide, we face a mental health crisis as well as an economic crisis.”

Approximately 15 million U.S. adults (5 percent to 8 percent of the adult population) are affected by major depression each year, and only 50% seek treatment, regardless of their economic or employment situation the survey found.

13. October 2009 by Ruth Folger Weiss
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