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Feeling stressed lately? You're not alone
Economic woes can ease, if you turn to a professional
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The economic downturn has done more than affect home sales, jobs and spending habits — it has also impacted stress levels.

According to the American Psychological Association, money matters have 71 percent of Americans experiencing “significant” levels of stress. The association also reports that 69 percent of Americans have high levels of work-related stress and 55 percent are experiencing stress related to family responsibilities.

“Financial stress can lead to increased levels of stress in other areas of a person’s life,” said Jack Mallory, Gainesville-Hall County Community Service Center Counseling Services clinical supervisor.

Although many people try to cut back on unnecessary spending during tough economic times, counseling should not be lumped into that category of useless spending, Mallory said.

“A lot of people are feeling stressed and don’t want to pay for counseling, but counseling is a good investment,” said Mallory.

“If you are experiencing stress and bottling your feelings in, your emotions can become a lot more dangerous and even increase the stress you are feeling. Counseling can help.”

If individuals can’t afford to see an independent counselor, the Gainesville-Hall County department offers various services on a sliding fee scale, depending on a client’s income — with the lowest fee being $10.

“We don’t have to see a client every week in order to help them,” said Mallory. “It really just depends on what their needs are. We cater our services to what is happening in their life.”

If residents aren’t comfortable seeing a counselor, Mallory said the important thing for them to do is convey their feelings to someone.

“Finding a support system can do a lot to help relieve stress. It’s important for people to find someone to talk to,” said Mallory. “A lot of times people tend to not talk about their feelings because they feel that talking about it will make the situation real somehow. That’s foolish; not talking turns up the heat on the situation, increases pressure and can lead to a dangerous explosion.”