Friday, May 1, 2009

Economic anxiety: First aid for the recession’s casualties

Christopher Palmer, MD

Medical director, Continuing medical education, McLean Hospital, Belmont, MA, Harvard Medical School

Jeffrey Rediger, MD, MDiv
Medical director, Adult inpatient service, McLean Hospital, Belmont, MA, Harvard Medical School

Carol Kauffman, PhD, ABPP, PCC
Director, Institute of Coaching, McLean Hospital, Belmont, MA, Harvard Medical School

How is the recession affecting psychiatric practice? Christopher Palmer, MD, says, “We in psychiatry and psychology are well-equipped to help people who are unemployed, underemployed, and financially ruined. We do it all the time. The difference in this economy is that we’re going to be seeing a lot more people.”

Psychiatrists who read Current Psychiatry and were polled in March 2009 agree. Most were seeing an increase in patients experiencing psychological stress because of the recession, which by then had persisted 16 months. “All my patients are reporting increased stress as a result of the economic situation. The more successful my patient is, the more distress they seem to be feeling,” says a psychiatrist from Melbourne, FL.

This article on the psychological effects of the recession discusses the results of an online survey of Current Psychiatry readers, with analysis and recommendations from an interview with Dr. Palmer and colleagues Jeffrey Rediger, MD, MDiv, and Carol Kauffman, PhD, ABPP, PCC, from McLean Hospital, Belmont, MA, and the department of psychiatry, Harvard Medical School.

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