Many thanks to Molly McVoy, M.D. of the American Psychiatric Association who forwarded me a new survey recently released by the American Psychiatric Association regarding the negative affect of the economy on women’s mental health. You can read the survey results by clicking here. Some highlights:
- More than two-thirds (68%) of women feel the current economic crisis has had a negative impact on them and their families.
- More than half (55%) said the current problems with the economy have had a negative impact on their mental health.
- Despite the negative impact on their mental well-being, most of the women prioritized others’ needs and other responsibilities over their own mental and physical health.
- Although 76 percent of women polled say they are participating in more positive activities than they were six months ago, they also report sharp increases in stress, anxiety, frustration and other negative mental health indicators over the same time period.
According to Dr. McVoy:
The survey reiterates a woman’s tendency to put others’ needs before her own, and shows how important it is that she addresses her own mental health needs so she can more effectively address the needs of her family. HealthyMinds.org offers women and their families information on mental health and the economy as well as a variety of other mental health topics.
I logged on to HealthyMinds.org and saw these tips that I thought might be helpful for those affected by the economy:
- Balance your needs. Mental health is essential to overall health. Recognize that stress affects your entire body. Physical activity, diet, sleep and stress management all play a part in having a healthy mind and a healthy life. Taking care of your own needs will help you remain healthy and able to respond to the needs of your family.
- Surround yourself with supportive people. Look to family and friends for support when facing an emotionally stressful situation. Surround yourself with people you trust and who have your best interests in mind. Their encouragement and feedback will help you think positively.
- Focus on the positive. Avoid activities that cause you to dwell on why you’re stressed. Amid the steady drumbeat of negative economic news, limit your news consumption and make time for other activities, such as listening to music or reading a book. Make sure conversations with friends, family or co-workers do not dwell too long on stressful or negative topics.
- Socialize and have fun. Invite friends and family for low-cost and fun activities – watch a movie or play a game at home, take a hike or a walk, or arrange a neighborhood cookout. Inexpensive social activities can help keep you and your family healthy and focused on the positive.
- Know when to get additional support. Stay in tune with how you are feeling. Even when you are taking positive steps to manage stress, you can get to a point where you need additional help. If you notice that stress is interfering with your daily life, there are many places you can turn to for support – including your family doctor, religious or spiritual advisor, or a mental health professional.