Bear Stearns Calls in Grief Counselors

"There are young people just out of college or business school who just signed leases in Manhattan and now they're on the hook for that. Someone else maybe refinanced his home, or is paying for his kid to go to college. Even if they receive severance, this is going to be extremely disruptive. Each person is going to experience this differently," said Hughes. "It's the assistants, secretaries and blue-collar guys who keep the building running that are the most vulnerable."

Typically, psychologists or social workers trained as employee assistance professionals are called by companies soon after workers have been given the bad news.

"Hearing that you've lost everything and may be out of a job on the news would be a blow to anybody," said Maynard.

"In a case like this, counselors are mobilized to go on site and be available in a particular place and at a particular time. Depending on the company, they may start out in groups. The initial conversation with employees is educational. Counselors will let them know what a normal reaction to this sort of news looks like," said Maynard.

"People could be feeling extreme helplessness or hopelessness. It is not just the employee who might be worried or irritable, but his spouse or family as well," Maynard said.

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