Website offers emotional rescue from economy

WASHINGTON Tue Mar 31, 2009 4:06am EDT

A trader covers his face as he speaks on the phone during in Moscow, June 18, 2004. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

A trader covers his face as he speaks on the phone during in Moscow, June 18, 2004.

Credit: Reuters/Sergei Karpukhin

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Stressed out by the economy? The U.S. government is offering an online emotional rescue kit.

The "Getting Through Tough Economic Times" guide at www.samhsa.gov/economy/ is meant to help people identify any serious health concerns related to financial worries, develop coping skills and find help, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration said on Tuesday.

Studies show a serious risk of clinical depression, anxiety and compulsive behaviors such as gambling, overeating and even spending stemming from stress, SAMHSA said.

"By helping people remain resilient, we can help promote the overall recovery of our nation," SAMHSA Acting Administrator Eric Broderick said in a statement.

Of particular importance is helping people see the warning signs of depression, suicidal thinking and other serious mental illnesses, SAMHSA said.

These include, according to the website:

*Persistent sadness/crying

*Excessive anxiety

*Lack of sleep/constant fatigue

*Excessive irritability/anger

*Increased drinking

*Illicit drug use, including misuse of medications

The site directs people to caregivers and also offers tips on ways to reduce the causes of stress, such as finding a new job and refinancing mortgages.

(Reporting by Maggie Fox; Editing by Eric Walsh)

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