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Study examines effects of Haiti disaster on American workers (1/29)

In the aftermath of the earthquake that destroyed the island nation of Haiti, American workers are digging deep, despite the current economic climate, to provide monetary assistance for relief efforts, according to a recent press release. While offering charitable support is providing some emotional comfort, many workers are experiencing psychological stress in response to the suffering and are seeking ways to cope.

According to a study commissioned by Workplace Options, a leading global provider of work-life benefits, while only 5 percent of workers had friends or relatives in Haiti during the earthquake, an astounding 78 percent feel personally affected by the emotional stress of the news.

"When a natural disaster like this hits a nation, the psychological reverberations can be felt on all corners of the earth," said Dean Debnam, CEO of Workplace Options. "The reactionary emotional stress it causes is most often first felt at home, and then crosses into the workplace, where colleagues communicate and commiserate about the news. One way employers are providing support for their workers is by offering counseling and other Employee Assistance Plan (EAP) mental health services to ease their distress."

The poll also revealed that 65 percent of workers have either already contributed or are considering contributing donations to the relief efforts. When asked if the individual's employer had committed to donating money to the relief efforts, 70 percent of respondents said their employer had not.

"Another way companies can support the emotional needs of their workers is to consider offering humanitarian organizations corporate charitable gifts and matching employee donations," added Debnam. Results from the poll show that more than one in three workers would be more encouraged to give if their company was willing to match the donation, and 38 percent said they felt it was important for their companies to support and match their charitable giving.

The national survey was conducted by the North Carolina firm of Public Policy Polling, January 18-19, 2010. The survey polled 504 working Americans and has a margin of error of +/- 4.4 percent. Full survey results can be viewed at www.workplaceoptions.com/polls.asp.

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