Counselors offer advice for financial stress

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Tough economic times have some folks struggling to pay for the necessities. Directors at the Family Guidance Center say financial stress can force people "over the edge."

Atlanta Police believe that's what happened to a woman found stabbing her daughter repeatedly.

Officers opened fire - killing the woman - who had just thrown her son out a window.

Police say the woman had lost her job and the city cut off the water to her home because she couldn't pay her bill.

Here in Montgomery - counselors say it shouldn't get to that point. Dr. Walter White, Executive Director of the Family Guidance Center of Alabama says there is one way to keep from snapping because of stress.

"We've got to take that step back."

White says a majority of the families he helps are dealing with financial troubles--mainly because they can't afford the lifestyle they want.

"When those things are not matching up...sometimes that kind of stress can lead us to lashing out," he says.

Others may have lost jobs or have expenses that exceed their income. White says whatever the case?

"There are more solutions out there than we're able to think about when we're right in the middle of the situation."

He suggests talking your troubles out with a counselor or close friend, or simply picking up the phone.

"They do get to talk to a live person," says JoAnn Johnson, Program Manager for 211 Connect.

Johnson pairs needy families with local agencies that may be able to provide assistance.

But even she says the organizations are struggling with their own financial troubles.

"Resources are slim."

It forces her and her team to think outside the box.

"Linking someone to a budget counselor or even just a mental health counselor. Trying to come up with creative solutions other than just getting that money to pay the bill," says Johnson.

She believes the ideas are working--sometimes even better than the money.

"They actually help the person in need in the long run."

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