Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Financial Crisis Creates stress for 80% of Americans

How are Americans coping with the financial crisis?

NBC's Kristen Dahlgren reports, "A newly released survey by the American Psychological Association shows the declining economy is causing stress levels to skyrocket." http://www.apa.org/

Madison Park, of CNN, tells readers - "If you're lying awake at night, feeling angry or fatigued, because of stress, you're in the majority, according to a nationwide report released Tuesday. As many as 80 percent of Americans are stressed about their personal finances and the economy, according to the annual survey conducted by the American Psychological Association." (APA) http://www.cnn.com/2008/HEALTH/conditions/10/07/economic.stress/index.html

Not a surprise, considering that millions of Americans are facing imminent foreclosure and homelessness. APAs report tells us, "Women of the Boomer generation (aged 44 to 62) and Matures (aged 63+) are most likely to report the economy as a significant stressor, while women in general rank financial worries above personal health. Female Boomers report increases in stress associated with their job stability and health problems affecting their families."

In regards to growing tent cities, CBS viewers were told, "What you're seeing is encampments that I haven't seen since the 80s," said Paul Boden, executive director of the Western Regional Advocacy Project, an umbrella group for homeless advocacy organizations in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, Calif., Portland, Ore. and Seattle. The picture posted above is a photograph of a tent camp in Reno, Nevada.

Boden explains that even the relatively tony city of Santa Barbara has given over a parking lot to people who sleep in cars and vans. The city of Fresno, Calif., is trying to manage several proliferating tent cities, including an encampment where people have made shelters out of scrap wood.

In Portland, Ore., and Seattle, homeless advocacy groups have paired with nonprofits or faith-based groups to manage tent cities as outdoor shelters. Other cities where tent cities have either appeared or expanded include include Chattanooga, Tenn., San Diego, and Columbus, Ohio."

A blog called wandering vets, tells us, "The picture above isn’t one from a third world country. The above picture is a tent city in Reno Nevada and it is just one of the many tent cities that are springing up around the US.

"The result of the current economy in the US has resulted in an increase of Americans who find themselves homeless."

This particular camp in Reno is home for 150 homeless citizens who have become the latest statistic in the rise of homelessness in the US. While we read about the current state of economic turmoil in the US, it is a rarity to actually see the results of these hard times that all Americans are facing.

Well, guess what folks? Tent cities are on the rise throughout the US and will probably continue to increase as the economy worsens. Tent cities are becoming a landscape of the America of 2008.

To be clear, many of the homeless of our country are not seeking life on the streets because of their own desires to live in a tent next to others. Tent cities are a direct result of the rising economic fall out that is sweeping our country. Homelessness knows no economic boundaries and with increasing job layoffs the faces of our homeless include families, the middle class and even CEOs."

The employees of failing financial institutions have also been under considerable psychological stress. In some parts of the nation, due in part to falling home values, the lending market dried up two years ago.

CEOs and executives from big banks may be receiving golden parachutes, but the average financial worker only has a pink slip to look forward to.

To make matters worse, a large number of employees who work in the financial sector are classified as "1099 employees" - which means that they do not have access to unemployment insurance or severance pay to help them cope during periods of unemployment.

Many wage earners have already spent their savings in an attempt to keep their families afloat through the upheaval in the market over the last 24 months.

The majority of these employees are highly trained, but job openings are far and few between as banks and investment firms continue to layoff staff.

And, it doesn't help that many banks and credit companies have outsourced service jobs to third world nations, like India.

These are troubled times for many honest, hardworking citizens who have worked very hard to build a good life for themselves and their families.

What can friends, family and neighbors do to help?

Here is a plan for well-being from Linda Rosenberg, CEO for the National Council for Community Behavioral Health care.

What can you do to fight that surge of high anxiety and avoid the physical fallout?

Focus on the positive aspects of your life. Look to family and friends to support you.

Plan for the future as much as you can.
"The more action you can take, the more in control you'll be, the less stressed you'll feel."

Try to take a long view. "Realize that it may be very bad yesterday, it may be very bad today, but that things over time will get better."

What about the rest of America? How are Americans coping?

Newsweek tells us, "Wall Street's problems have captured the attention of Congress, the White House and the media. But on the country's Main Streets ordinary folks are wondering if anyone is paying attention to them."

For a pictorial review of how Americans are coping with the economic crisis. Click the
What About Us? link.

The elite of the financial world receive a $700 billion bailout from Congress, while former banking customers and workers (the taxpayers of this nation) are being forced to live in tents and make shift shacks built on vacant lots, in alley ways and streets.

So much for the status of human rights in America.

Video footage of tent cities: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CnnOOo6tRs8

More on tent cities in Seattle by the Christian Science Monitor: http://www.csmonitor.com/2000/1129/p3s2.html?s=widep

Thank you, CNN.com/health, for including Latte Republic on your list of recommended blogs. (Readers can find the link under "From the Blogs" section): http://www.cnn.com/2008/HEALTH/conditions/10/07/economic.stress/index.html

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