Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco

Community Development

Financial Stress and Its Physical Effects on Individuals and Communities

Author(s):

December 2009

Community Development Investment Review

Everywhere you look, the symptoms of the current recession are clear: homes lost to foreclosure, job losses across almost every sector of the economy, dwindling retirement portfolios, and frozen credit markets. But the recession has also led to a number of other symptoms that haven’t been getting enough attention: headaches, backaches, ulcers, increased blood pressure, depression and anxiety, just to name a few. Extended periods of stress can take their toll on physical, mental, and emotional health, compounding the difficulties that many low- and moderate-income communities face during troubled economic times. As we think about ways to strengthen health and community development finance at the institutional level, we need to remember the impact that financial instability can have on health outcomes at the individual level.

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