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WI Social Workers Gear-Up for Holiday Helping

November 30, 2009

MADISON, Wisc. - The holidays can be a wonderful time to enjoy family and friends, but for those who face difficult challenges, the best present may be some professional help. That's where the state's social workers come in. With the economy reeling, social workers in Wisconsin are preparing for a very busy holiday season.

Jerry Rousseau, a Wisconsin volunteer with the National Association of Social Workers, is a clinical professor at the Helen Bader School of Social Welfare at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He says the economic situation will have an impact this year.

"It's going to generate even more stress. It's going to generate more frustration. Some people are going to turn to behaviors that are not necessarily going to be good for them."

Rousseau says social workers across the state help people overcome some of life's most difficult challenges: poverty, discrimination, abuse, addiction, physical illness, divorce, unemployment, disability and mental illness. All of these can be exacerbated by a bad economy and the holiday season.

While the holidays are hard to get through for many people, Rousseau warns that the biggest challenges sometimes come later.

"After the holiday period, after January 1, a lot of people sink into the sense of disappointment and depression that has been building through the holidays."

It's a double-whammy, he adds: That's also when bills from holiday spending come due.

Glen Gardner, Public News Service - WI