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Foreclosures and mental health

Posted by: Peter Coy on August 24, 2009

In case you missed it … the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine put out this press release last week:

PHILADELPHIA – The nation’s home foreclosure epidemic may be taking its toll on Americans’ health as well as their wallets. Nearly half of people studied while undergoing foreclosure reported depressive symptoms, and 37 percent met screening criteria for major depression, according to new University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine research published online this week in the American Journal of Public Health. Many also reported an inability to afford prescription drugs, and skipping meals. The authors say their findings should serve as a call for policy makers to tie health interventions into their response to the nation’s ongoing housing crisis.

“The foreclosure crisis is also a health crisis,” says lead author Craig E. Pollack, MD, MHS, who conducted the research while working as an internist and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar at Penn. “We need to do more to ensure that if people lose their homes, they don’t also lose their health.”

For the full press release, click here.

Just a guess here, but I’d bet that foreclosure isn’t always the worst thing for mental health. For some people, it could even be a safety valve. Sometimes, the most stressful thing is to try to stave off foreclosure by making huge sacrifices to hang onto a house that’s unaffordable.

(Sorry for being late with this. Vacations have hit the Hot Property staff pretty hard lately.)

Reader Comments

Douglas William Brydone

August 24, 2009 4:13 PM

I detect, in fact I don't detect, I know, I see the usual defense by the know it all who tries to deny that he is part of the great dream neurosis that got his fellow country men into that mess. Until you people realise that you cannot call someone stupid for following the heard of," I don't want to be left behind, when all your leaders sit back and watch, and then say, no it wasn't me, then you are not going to save yourselves. Just a guess mind you. I have been through what clever person is talking about, I know why I jumped on the band wagon, and it wasn't because I was a lesser person than the not so Coy, I can assure you. And the safety valve he talks about, isn't that, not when you have been worrying about where you are going to end up. I can also tell him that as well. But, if what has happened to his country so far, and I seriously hope gets worse because of their attitude, hasn't opned his eyes yet, nothing will.


August 24, 2009 6:59 PM

But which is the cause and which is the effect? From what I've seen, it's usually the mental defects that cause the foreclosures as they borrow more than they can pay back. Because, somehow, magically, bling!, money will appear from out of nowhere and pay the mortgage once they've signed the papers. Yay! Kool-aide! They should have "Negative Amort" branded into their foreheads so that people know they should not breed.

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BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.

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