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The potential health impact of debts

20th July 2011

Anyone involved in providing debt or trust deed advice will be conscious of the effects debt can have on the health of their clients.

Those seeking Scottish trust deed advice commonly talk about disturbed sleep which affects their general sense of wellbeing. More worryingly still, the symptoms of debt-problems can often also lead to depression and the consequent prescribing of medication including anti-depressants to deal with the effects.

Poor sleep patterns, depression and stress caused by debt may also have an effect on workplace performance. Some people who are entering into a trust deed report they have found it difficult to concentrate on their work due to the constant pressure of having to juggle their finances to get by. While a very difficult issue for employed persons, such health issues can be utterly destructive for the self-employed, who can quickly see their income dwindle.

Academics have recently been measuring the health effects on the public in the European countries which have been most affected by the banking crisis. Most seriously, they have investigated the mental health link between debt and suicide.

The two countries most severely affected by financial meltdown have been Greece and Ireland. Between 2007 and 2009 The Independent reports that the suicide rate increased by 16% in Greece and by 13% in Ireland. The mental health effects of financial difficulty are clearly extreme.

The UK had seen a decline in suicide rates for the past ten years, but the post credit crunch period from 2007 onwards saw a reversal in this trend. Between 2007 and 2009 the UK’s suicide rate increased by 8%. It’s estimated that there are also ten unsuccessful suicide attempts for each death. Dr Peter Byrne of Newham University Hospital has noted an increase in patients who have self-harmed or attempted suicide as a result of “personal debt, loss of hope and uncertainty”.

Anyone who feels their health or mental wellbeing is being affected by debt is advised to seek two sources of professional help and advice. Firstly they should visit their GP to discuss any physical or mental loss of wellbeing from which they are suffering. Secondly, and only after they have prioritised their health and the medical treatment of any ill-effects, they should seek reputable debt or trust deed advice.

Dealing with debts which are causing stress and worry will generally come as a huge relief. The trust deed forum at Trust-Deed.co.uk often contains posts where visitors describe their relief at having addressed their debt problems, and elation when these routes (such as a trust deed) are accepted by creditors. Some also benefit from a sense of calm as their essential living expenditure has been prioritised in a way which ensures their basic living costs are covered without constant financial juggling.

Trust deed advisers know well that there is no debt problem without a solution. However, this is a difficult point to make to an individual who may have been deeply and darkly affected by debt for months or even years. A trust deed is just one of the available solutions offering different benefits according to an individual scenario.

One key piece of advice is not to suffer in silence. The help of friends, family, colleagues, medical professionals and trained qualified debt and trust deed advisers should be sought quickly by anyone who fears for their health due to debt or other financial pressure.

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