Stressed out about debt? You have options.
Here in San Diego, there have been two upsetting stories recently involving the toll that debt can take on one’s life. Without rehashing the sad details, both cases involved people who were so stressed out about debt that they didn’t see a way out and took unnecessary, drastic measures. One case involved suicide. As a San Diego bankruptcy attorney, it always saddens me to see people in such dire straits, who see no hope for a better financial future. In many cases, a simple discussion of their legal options can provide real hope and a more positive outlook for the future.
Seek Help, It’s Never as Bad as You Think It is
I am not trained in the matters of the impact of financial burdens on one’s mental health. I am a counselor, however, a counselor at law. As such, one of my primary duties is to listen to my clients, analyze their money problems, and provide debt relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. Each of these stories, as they came to light, caused me to ponder what might have been had they consulted a bankruptcy attorney, family member or friend. These stories are obviously not the norm, but they do remind us of the very real pain that many Americans feel when it comes to overwhelming debt.
Debt need not be overwhelming
The point is that debt need NOT be overwhelming. Like many causes of stress in one’s life, there are avenues of assistance. There is a way out. There is always hope. In a strict financial stress analysis, that hope can be provided by a bankruptcy filing. If any good is to come of the tragic endings of these two families, my hope is that others in similar situations will seek the counsel of a competent counselor for their mind-set but ALSO a competent bankruptcy attorney to counsel on how to deal with the outstanding debt.
Bankruptcy Can Provide Hope
A bankruptcy filing, while certainly not a preferred option, can be very rehabilitative, both financially and mentally. It is clear, even to those of us not formally trained in diagnosing depression, that the prospect of a foreclosure, a car repossession, a credit card lawsuit, a wage garnishment, or just plain generic creditor collection harassment calls can lead to a sense of failure, sadness and despondency. It should also be clear to those not trained in financial or legal counseling, that the option of filing a personal bankruptcy can alleviate, and in many cases, eliminate those negative feelings. There is a reason the Bankruptcy Code contemplates a ‘fresh start’ for the bankrupt debtor. That is hope. Hope, I suggest, for ones mental as well as one’s financial well being.
John C. Colwell, Attorney at Law