Economic Stress

Whether we live in urban, suburban, or rural settings, we all face the reality of how economic changes affect us, our families, and our communities. We might be laid off, not able to find a job, or have difficulty supporting our families. We might see the closing of organizations important to our community or lose local services that we depend on. These economic challenges can impact our feelings of safety, our ability to remain calm, our relationships with others, and our sense that things will improve. When times are uncertain we may feel frustrated, angry, scared, or hopeless. We may have to plan new ways to overcome obstacles. These plans should include supports not only for ourselves, but also for our families and communities.

Although you may try to shield children from financial problems and economic stress, they hear, see, and read about what is happening in the world, the nation, and their own homes. Economic stress impacts them as much as it does you. Children can sense when their parents are worried and begin to worry themselves. Be open to communicating with children about their concerns and allow them to ask you questions. We are all in a position to encourage others, to communicate messages of resilience, and to bring about changes that are essential to helping each other move forward and overcome hardships.

Listed below is a selection of resources about economic stress and resilience.

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NCTSN Resources

Building Community Resilience for Children and Families (2007) (PDF)  
A guide to assist individuals in decision-making and leadership roles in all sectors of a community. Provides information on helping communities increase their resilience and on improving their capacity to respond effectively to crisis.

Coping in Hard Times—Fact Sheet Series
Discusses challenging financial circumstances and economic hardships that can negatively affect youth, families, and communities. Offers practical ways to address the challenges during economic hardships by improving a sense of safety, calming, self- and community efficacy, connectedness, and hope.


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Additional Resources

American Psychological Association


National Association of School Psychologists (NASP)

  • Economic Crisis Resources
    A series of resources developed by NASP and school psychologists to “support students, families, and school staff affected by the economic crisis.”


SAMHSA Disaster Technical Assistance Center

  • Resilience and Stress Management: Introduction
    A collection of materials that provide a knowledge base for understanding resilience and stress management. Emphasizes ways to promote resilience and highlights the importance of being psychologically prepared for times when stressful life events occur. This collection includes tip sheets with advice to help individuals deal with economic stress.


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