No one likes to discuss their economic problems. Most of us prefer to show that we have a tough exterior when hard times hit. But keeping our financial worries and anxiety balled up inside can lead to greater emotional problems. Prolonged stress and anxiety caused by economic difficulty can pose a serious risk to anyone's mental health.
The economic uncertainty many rural families and small business owners are facing has lead to a need for mental health support in rural and agricultural communities. Below are some tips for identifying emotional needs and support resources. Knowing when and where to seek help can prevent needless suffering for you and your loved ones.
With early detection, intervention, and support, most people can better cope with stress and anxiety problems caused by financial difficulties. Only a trained professional can diagnose mental health disorders, but care providers suggest seeking help when five or more of the following are present for more than two weeks.
Severe stress and anxiety can be related to more serious, yet common, problems such as depression. Only a trained health care provider or counselor can diagnose depression, so seek professional assistance if you suspect you or a loved one has depression. If you think your situation is even more serious, please seek immediate assistance. It is important for a person struggling financially to recognize these warning signs, obtain a proper diagnosis, receive professional help and request support from their loved ones.
Statements similar to “You would be better off without me,” or “I want you to have my prized possessions now because I may not be around much longer,” are expressions of hopelessness that should not be treated lightly. Personality changes, risk-taking behaviors, and a lack of interest in future planning are also symptoms that signal a need for intervention and support.
Adapted from: Mental Health America Factsheets on Suicide and Depression, © copyright Mental Health America, October 2009 http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net
Virginia Cooperative Extension materials are available for public use, reprint, or citation without further permission, provided the use includes credit to the author and to Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University.
Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.
November 16, 2009