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Saturday, November 15, 2008

How To Tackle Downturn-Related Depression

Rebecca Ruiz, 10.30.08, 04:40 PM EST

Bad news about the economy has got many down, but there are ways to manage stress and relieve anxiety.

Like many of her colleagues, Dr. Rosalind S. Dorlen, a clinical psychologist in Summit, N.J., has no openings for new patients. Though she’s always had a busy practice, the past few months have brought an intensity she’s never before witnessed.

“Every person coming into my office is talking about this global roller coaster we’re on,” says Dorlen, who counsels many Wall Street employees. “There’s widespread anxiety, which I haven’t seen around economic factors in my 30 years of practice.”

In Depth: How To Tackle Downturn-Related Depression

Indeed, the news has been grim. Since the beginning of the year, the economy has shed jobs consecutively for nine months, eliminating 760,000 positions. In September, one in 475 housing units received a foreclosure filing, according to RealtyTrac, a firm in Irvine, Calif. And pensions lost roughly $1 trillion from the second quarter of 2007 to the second quarter of 2008, according to a recent analysis by the Congressional Budget Office.

What’s next? Nobody knows, but the constant bad news is taking its toll. The American Psychological Association (APA) conducted two online surveys of more than 2,500 people this year and found that respondents’ stress levels spiked in September. In April, 66% said that the economy was a source of stress. In September, that number jumped to 80%.

Seeking Help 
Georgia Cristimilios, vice president of sales and marketing for Corporate Counseling Associates, a human resources consulting firm based in New York City, says the company has seen a 15% increase during the past year in the number of employees looking to take advantage of counseling and assistance benefits provided by their employers.

Many of the company’s 250 clients, which include investment banks, hedge funds, law firms, publishing houses, newspapers and manufacturers, have been hit hard by the economic crisis, and few employees have been unaffected. (Forbes Media is also a client of CCA.)


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