Archive for Sunday, April 5, 2009

Web site offers help with economy’s mental toll

April 5, 2009

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— As it provides assistance to the financial sector and leads a restructuring of the American automobile industry, the federal government now is also offering advice on how to cope with the pressures of the economic downturn.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) started a Web page this week that raises warning flags for people suffering from persistent depression, anxiety, sleeplessness, fatigue, excessive irritability or anger.

The site cautions that the “economic turmoil” of unemployment, foreclosures, loss of investments and other financial distress can result in a “whole host of negative health effects.”

“It can be particularly devastating to your emotional and mental well-being,” the government says. “Although each of us is affected differently by economic troubles, these problems can add tremendous stress.”

The site suggests that the nation’s economic woes could lead some Americans to develop problems such as depression, anxiety, compulsive behavior or substance abuse.

The new online page provides an aggregation of relevant information and resources from each state, as well as the departments of Housing and Urban Development, Labor, and Treasury. The agency published similar pages after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and Hurricane Katrina to address potential mental health or substance abuse concerns arising from those events, HHS officials said.

The site is www.samhsa. gov/economy/warningsigns.

SAMHSA, established in 1992, is a division of the Department of Health and Human Services that works to improve the lives of Americans with mental health or substance-abuse issues.

The Rockville, Md.-based agency has 534 employees and had a $3.4 billion budget for fiscal 2008.

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