How to report the hidden stories of economy-related mental health issues

The Great Recession is technically over, but in many communities, people are still reeling from months of unemployment and financial struggle. There are stories to be told — if journalists can find them. Many people are reluctant to talk about their problems, and ethics standards prevent psychologists and health-care providers from referring their patients to reporters.

In a live chat on, I talked with Nancy Molitor, a clinical psychologist and assistant professor of psychiatry at Northwestern University, and Medill professor Bill Handy about how reporters can uncover these stories.

We discussed:

  • How have economic woes affected mental health issues?
  • How has economic stress affected different groups, such as stay-at-home moms, students, high-income professionals and men?
  • How can you find people struggling with these conditions?
  • What are the best ways to tell these stories?
  • Where can journalists find research to back up the personal stories?
  • What stories should journalists look out for over the next couple of years?

This chat was conducted in conjunction with a Specialized Reporting Institute on the Recession and Mental Health, sponsored by the McCormick Foundation.

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