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As Economy Worsens, Missourians Seek Counseling

Fears of job and financial insecurities aren’t just affecting the stock market and the workplace. Local psychology clinics and counseling centers are seeing a spike in the number of clients walking through their doors as the economy worsens. KSMU’s Nathan McVay has more.

Money, the economy, and work. These issues are the three biggest stressors for Americans, according to a recent study by the American Psychological Association.

As news reports trickle in every day about the teetering stock market and unemployment reaching record highs, Americans have plenty of things to be anxious about these days.

For some, the stress, fears and anxiety have become too much and they have turned to others for help.

Dr. Robert King is a licensed Psychologist and the Clinic Director at Springfield’s Murney Clinic at The Forest Institute. He says the clinic has seen a 12 percent increase in its patients since the economy has grown sour.

He says it’s understandable that during tough economic times people turn to mental health care professionals.

“With a downturn in the economy if it results in more prolonged financial hardships then you do see more of a direct correlation with an increase in pre existing mental health problems,” he said.

The increase in patients encourages King because he says he believes people are realizing they need help. He says a lot of his patients share common problems and questions. Questions, he says everyone should ask themselves.

“Do you see an increase in arguments with your spouse whenever there are money problems? Are you more and more irritable with your children? Do you eat unhealthy? Do you consume more alcohol and cigarettes? And if these behaviors cause trouble then I would suggest you seek help from a psychologist or clinic before these things get worse and they impact you in a more detrimental way,” he said.

With no clear solution to the nation’s economic troubles, King says things may get worse before they get better, but he offers advice to people who may be concerned.

“You don’t want to avoid financial stress by ignoring it. Take stock of what you have, what you don’t have. Make sure you are openly talking about it with a spouse or family members. And approach it from a problem solving standpoint, not necessarily an emotional avoidance,” he said

The Murney Clinic is located at the Forest Institute on Campbell street across the street from Fassnight Park. King says the clinic offers free anonymous mental health screenings for anyone experiencing anxiety. For KSMU, I’m Nathan McVay

For more information on The Murney Clinic you can visit our website, KSMU.org.