With suicide rates on the rise* nationwide, it seems appropriate to stop for a moment and talk about this problem and what we can do about it. The warning signs of someone having suicidal thoughts can be hard to discern, with many people committing suicide having never been diagnosed with a mental illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention* (CDC).
There are, however, several factors that many people who die by suicide have in common – and one of them is the pressure of financial woes. According to the CDC, 16 percent of those who died by suicide in one recent year had been suffering from financial and job problems, and 4 percent had lost their housing.
As a bankruptcy attorney serving Westchester County, Rockland County, Putnam County and the Hudson Valley and New York City areas for more than 40 years, Michael H. Schwartz, P.C. has helped many clients who were struggling with their finances and at risk of losing their homes.
Our firm understands the impact of financial pressures on your mental well being, and we are dedicated to handling each case with sensitivity and compassion. While there are resources and counseling available for you to help you manage your mental health, there are also steps you can take to lessen the financial pressures that are causing you distress.
Don’t Ignore Your Money Problems
Financial issues have a way of worsening over time. Debt that may seem like a minor annoyance now can grow into a monster that consumes your life and puts you at risk of foreclosure. Financial struggles will not simply go away if you ignore them.
One of the most important first steps you can take if you feel like you are financially underwater is to sit down and do the math. What amount in bills are you leaving unpaid every month? You might not like what you see, but the only way to make a problem manageable is to understand what you’re really up against. It is easier to see the amount of debt that you owe than to see a foreclosure notice in the mail.
Come to Terms with Your Financial Situation
Another step to pulling yourself out of financial distress is to come to terms with your situation. You are not alone in being in dire financial straits. People fall on tough times, and this is not a moral failure. Only when you admit that you are one of the millions of Americans who struggle with their finances can you begin to make your situation better.
Of course, it is not always possible for everyone to come to terms with their situation on their own, and seeking out mental health counseling can be a positive step for many people, especially those who have had suicidal thoughts.
What Are My Options for Dealing with Debt?
Getting out of debt can seem daunting, but there are a number of options available to homeowners in New York who are facing financial troubles.
If you have defaulted on your mortgage payment and are facing foreclosure, your options might include:
- Loan Modification. This is a process by which you and the bank reach a new agreement for your mortgage loan, changing the terms so that you are able to make payments on time.
- Mediation. This is a step required by New York law when a bank starts foreclosure proceedings against you. A neutral third party called a mediator will be assigned to talk to you and to the bank and try to help both sides reach an agreement on new terms for the mortgage.
- Bankruptcy. Filing for bankruptcy will stop the foreclosure process and give you time to come up with solutions to your debt problems. Bankruptcy will also help you deal with other types of debt, such as credit cards and car payments. There are a number of different types of bankruptcy. Depending on the type you choose, you could change the terms of your mortgage, reduce the amount you owe, repay over an extended period, or take other actions. In the end, you could walk away debt-free.
The solution that is best for you will depend on the specifics of your situation, including what kind of debt and how much debt you are facing, whether the foreclosure process has started, and other factors. Whatever your situation, an experienced White Plains bankruptcy attorney can help you assess your options and move forward with one that makes sense for you and your family.
Who Can I Talk to About My Debt Problems?
Taking care of your finances is extremely important in the long term, but in the short term, if you are having thoughts of suicide, the first thing you should do is to seek help with your mental health. It is also important to remember that addressing your financial woes will not necessarily cure depression and suicidal thoughts — there could be any number of contributing factors.
There are many mental healthcare providers in Westchester County, Rockland County, Putnam County and the Hudson Valley and New York City areas who can give you counseling and help you come to terms with your situation in a healthy way. If you have health insurance, your policy may even cover mental healthcare.
If you are currently having thoughts of suicide, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
Bankruptcy and Foreclosure Defense Lawyer Ready to Help You
In terms of dealing with your finances themselves, you can seek help from an experienced New York bankruptcy and foreclosure defense lawyer. Whatever options you are considering for dealing with your debt, from loan modification to bankruptcy, a lawyer can help you understand the process and get your affairs in order so that you can make the most of your financial options.
White Plains bankruptcy and foreclosure attorney Michael H. Schwartz has over 40 years of experience helping people just like you to find happy and healthy solutions to their debt problems. For more information on how he can help you, contact our office today and set up a free consultation.
Michael H. Schwartz is the largest filer of bankruptcy cases for people living in Westchester and Rockland counties in New York. A graduate of New York Law School, Michael has been licensed to practice in New York State courts since 1983. He is also licensed to practice in the U.S. Bankruptcy and District Courts for the Southern, Eastern and Northern Districts of New York and the District of New Jersey as well as the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. He is a graduate of Max Gardner’s Bankruptcy and Veterans’ Boot Camps. Several media outlets have reported on his cases or sought his insights, including The New York Times.