The State of the Economy and Recession in The USA and Canada

Carol RoachStarred Page By Carol Roach, 26th Jun 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Money>Economics

Research has shown that the state of the economy can lead to depression and other mental illnesses.

The American Economy

This article was written in 2009 .There has since been some upward movement since the original publishing of this piece..

The state of the American economy is now reaching a monumental low likened to the 1982-83 recession and the great Depression of 1929. People are throwing out the words,recession and even depression. However the New York Times article dated April 18, 2009, concludes that there really isn't a clear-cut definition universality accepted to define recession. The definition they use in their article is, "Recessions are commonly described as two or more quarters of a declining gross domestic product."

This examiner found it interesting that they also say that there is no official body in the USA that will declare the beginning or the end of a recession. However, the New York Times do say that the independent organization, The National Bureau of Economic Research, located in Cambridge, Mass, stated the USA entered a recession on December 1, 2007. Today we all except that fact that the USA was hit hard by the recession and though not his fault, Obama is blamed for not being able to pull his country out of the recession as fast as everyone would like. Why it is not Obama's fault is that this job cannot be done in two years by any residing leader of any country.

Canada and therefore by extension Montreal has been luckier not suffering as badly as the USA but every country has had to struggle. In fact the Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper was so optimistic that Canada was not going through a recession, he has just gotten around to admitting it now.

The National Bureau of Economic Research defines a recession as an economic slowdown, "normally visible in real GDP, real income, employment, industrial production, and wholesale-retail sales. They go on to say that a recession occurs just after the economy has peaked at an all time high and then slows down again. They say that recessions normally last about 11 months. Yet, this one has lasted for close to a year and a half with no immediate end in sight.

We now see in 2010 that the predictors have been off and we are still very much in the throws of a recession.

Staggering statistics

Is the state of the Economy Causing Unusual Levels of Stress and Depression within the Population?

Although recessions are commonplace, this particular recession is making a lot of economists and average people nervous as well. The average person is losing his or her home through bankruptcy, and losing his or her job while battling fuel and food costs.

The dollar must stretch further even though it is worth less. To further add to the crunch and subsequent paranoia, big mammoth corporations such as AIG, going under due to sub prime mortgage loans, and Chrysler and General Motors in the auto industry, are in economic distress. Government bailouts have been handed out in the billions of dollars.

Who wouldn't be depressed in times like these?

According to, Blacks are suffering from a silent depression with 12% of the Afro American population out of work. These staggering figures are reaching the numbers and even surpassing those of the Great Depression of 1929. continues to say, "Overall, 24% of Blacks and 21% of Latinos are in poverty, versus 8% of white."

Christina Positano wrote that four million Americans are collecting unemployment. This staggering figure represents the highest amount of recipients in 26 years.

The state of the economy is affecting students who already have clinical depression. During a University Depression screening 24 out of 56 students at Stony Brook University reported that worries over their economic future was adding more stress to their existing levels of stress and depression anxiety. For a student already experiencing depression the thought of looking for a job in these bad times can be overwhelming.

According to the United States Department of Health, the overall unemployment rate for people with mental illness is over 90 percent and many of these individuals are chronically depressed.

Other clinically depressed individuals are now worried over the rising health care cost even if they do in fact hold down a job. Some people are afraid that government will group all people with disabilities into the same classification and distribute uniform disability payments regardless of the cause for disability.

Montrealers do not have to face the rising cost of health care but they do have to face the sluggish economy and the high rates of unemployment which are making them depressed as well.

Does the Recession Affect Healthy people?

Does the Recession Affect Healthy people?

Most researchers agree that poor economic times increase the numbers of people affected with psychiatric disorders. The New England Journal of Medicine reports that 'research has found a strong correlation between job loss and clinical and subclinical depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and antisocial behavior. Longitudinal panel studies have suggested that job loss tends to precede the onset of psychiatric disorders, although selection bias clearly contributes to the correlation."

Other than that, research is still ongoing but suggests that people with depression and other mental illness may blame job loss on the poor economic times. It also suggests that people needing mental attention may not go through proper mental screening e.g. breast examinations because of the economic hardships.

Note: In Montreal a depressed people will tend to stay away from getting medical help because they have lost the desire to remain healthy. However, it is much worse in the USA where depressed people cannot afford medical intervention such as mammograms and such if they do not have proper insurance.

Sick people cannot afford proper treatment

What also happens is that the demand for psychiatrists goes down as the cost for these services increase, particularly with return maintenance visits.

Sick people cannot afford proper treatment

Sick people cannot afford proper treatment

On the other hand, new cases of acute depression and other mental disorders will be on the rise. What this means is that psychiatrists will be seeing more and more new cases, but these patients will not return because they will not have the means to pay for the services and so they will essentially remain untreated for depression.

Because many people cannot pay for services, this too lends to more cases of depression. People will be worried and depressed about not being able to get the medical care that they need. Thus the whole issue becomes a vicious circle.

Recession or not these economic times are depressing for many Americans and Montrealers alike. According to Montreal CTV news, it is predicted that Montrealers will be very cautious about their purchases this season. Of course, this is a bad sign in terms of spending for the family and their needs, but also bad for the Montreal shopkeepers who will receive the sales they need. Less spending means less stimulation of the economy and this vicious cycle continues as well.

Then there are Montreal's poor. From a feminism standpoint, Montreal women, especially single mothers and the elderly are always hardest hit. For over a year now food banks have had less funding from the government and many are closing down.

Fortunately we still have the many organizations which help out the poor at Christmas time. There is the St. Vincent de Paul Society who provide food to the needy year long, there are the food banks that have remained open throughout the recession and there is of course the Gazette Christmas Fund. Hopefully, Montreal poor can survive through yet another depressing season and hope for a better economy and a better year.

All photos taken from the public domain

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Canadian Economy, Depression, Depression And Mental Illness, Economy, Food Banks, Recession, Recession In Canada, Recession In Usa, The Economy And Depression, The Economy And Mental Illness, Us Economy

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author avatar Carol Roach
Retired therapist and author of two books, freelance writer, newsletter editor, and blogger. I write, health, mental health, women's issues, animal , celebrity, history, and SEO articles.

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author avatar Randhir Bechoo
27th Jun 2015 (#)

Interesting article.

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