Various media reports in recent weeks and months have highlighted the effect of the recession as more than an economic or academic affair. Where people are losing their jobs and/or their households – or are fearful of doing so in the near future – the stresses of managing daily expenses can grow beyond a person’s ability to cope, especially if that person is responsible not only for themselves but a family. A statistical view of this effect during the current recession can be garnered through a February report in Time Magazine, which described a Portland suicide and substance abuse hotline that had 71 percent more calls in January 2009 compared to the same month in the previous year.
Despite the link between economic distress and mental distress, IBISWorld expects the recession to have an overall negative impact on the Psychologists, Social Workers & Marriage Counseling industry. Poor economic circumstances will limit the ability for prospective patients to make out-of-pocket expenses, while private insurers will also be more risk-averse (though any changes to insurance legislation that expands mental health parity laws may offset this). Risk will be offset to some extent by health funding provided under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Overall, IBISWorld analysis indicates that this industry will face a HIGH level of risk throughout the year.
Risk in the Family Counseling & Other Social Services industry is predicted to be MEDIUM-HIGH level as increased unemployment and relative poverty levels result in higher demand for social services, which will result in stimulus funding. IBISWorld predicts that this industry’s total revenue will expand by 6.1 percent in 2009. Below is an outline of the historical and forecast risk score of the above mentioned industries.