Monday, February 9, 2009

Foreclosing on Mental Health

Social Service Hotlines report a major surge in phone calls from emotionally distraught homeowners. The prevalent issue appears to stem from the housing crisis.

Psychologists state that the real estate meltdown is creating a wide range of emotional behavior.

Mental Health Groups, such as the American Psychological Association, say that problems such as domestic violence, marital disharmony, depression, alcoholism, gambling, and even suicide, are increasing as the pace of foreclosures escalates.

One in seven homeowners are not confident that they will be able to keep up with paying their mortgages over the next six months.

According to an Associated Press - AOL Money and Finance Poll, more than a quarter of homeowners in the United States fear the loss of value in their homes over the next couple of years.

Up until the housing crisis, the increased value of real estate had homeowners re-financing left, right and center; homeowners felt secure and cashed-up.

Unfortunately, April's foreclosure filings show a more dismal reality since the housing boom; one in every five hundred and nineteen households received a foreclosure filing this year. A surge of 65% since last year.

Leading analysts warn that the crisis seems to be accelerating; sinking home values, rising foreclosures, an excess of homes for sale, and tighter lending rules, which disadvantage those trying to re-finance, and shut-out those trying to purchase.

A survey by the American Psychologists' Association sites that half of the Americans they interviewed identified rent and mortgage costs as significantly high sources of stress.

Historical research shows that during economic turmoil, the rates of suicide and depression rise.

Financial stress can often be the last straw, triggering pre-existing mental health conditions to surface.

Suicide can seem like the only option available when it feels as if there is no future in sight.

Imagine how helpless you'd feel if the home that you had been working so hard for over the many, long years was all of a sudden taken from you. You'd feel anger, resentment, frustration, embarrassment, and overwhelmingly without hope.

In many households, the threat of the financial consequences associated with the housing slump has a huge bearing on one's emotional state.

Studies show a strong connection between emotional stress and financial distress. It is not uncommon to suffer from insomnia, migraines, nausea, depression and anxiety during these troubling times.

Unfortunately, due to excessively high medical costs, the dilemmas of not having access to private mental-health treatment in the midst of a financial crisis is also problematic.

As adults we tend to neglect the opinions and feelings of our children. Don't forget that our children are also feeling extreme anxiety and helplessness in our stressful financial situation.

Remember that children will sometimes blame themselves for the situations that we, as adults/parents, find ourselves in. Just as we need coping mechanisms in order to push through hard times, so do our children.

Be patient and kind with each other; these are trying times!

Faith Is Courage; It Is Creative While Despair Is Always Destructive (David S. Muzzey)

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