Economic Downturn Drives Admissions Up and Funding Down

April 1st, 2009

In January, economists finally told us something most people in Florida already knew: the U.S. economy has been in a recession since December 2007.

Headlines and talk shows are riddled with bad economic news. Unemployment rates are at the highest they’ve been in over 25 years, bankruptcy and foreclosure filings have skyrocketed, new home sales have plummeted, large national retailers are closing their doors and on and on.

So how is all this bad news affecting our mental health? A recent poll conducted by the American Psychological Association found that almost half of all adults said they are increasingly stressed about their ability to provide for their family’s basic needs and eight out of 10 Americans reported economy related stress – up from 66 percent. The economic crisis is affecting everyone, regardless of their socio-economic standing. From construction workers with fewer homes to build, to stay-at-home parents wondering if they need to find jobs, to executives worrying about having to make layoffs, to retirees worrying about their portfolios – almost everyone is experiencing increased levels of stress and anxiety.

At David Lawrence Center, admissions trends over the last six months show an upsurge in the number of new adults, children and families accessing mental health services. Urgent Care admissions have increased by 47%, Adult Medical Services have increased by 27% and Children’s Outpatient Services are up 90%. While some of the new cases are people with psychiatric conditions, others are people suffering from anxiety and depression brought on or exacerbated by the economic downturn. In addition, more and more people accessing our services today are unemployed and uninsured as a result of layoffs and failed businesses.

Due to the lack of revenue at the State level, since the recession began, the Center has faced over $1 million in reductions from the State of Florida and Medicaid and we are preparing for an additional $1.5 million in reductions in our next fiscal year’s budget.

As the recession continues, we anticipate this being a difficult couple of years, but as we have for the last 40 years, the David Lawrence Center will remain true to our mission and focused on our core programs and services so that we can meet the needs of Collier County citizens.

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