Correlation Between Foreclosures and Poor Mental Health

Economists expect the number of foreclosures to rise by the end of 2011. Already over 2.3 million have fallen into foreclosure since late 2007 when the recession began. According to a recent post on the website Third Age, people who are experiencing foreclosures or have already lost homes have worse mental health than those with fewer mortgage issues, say researchers.

Senior author of this study, Terri Lipman from the University of Pennsylvania Nursing School, says that those with financial hardships and housing stress may not have access to adequate healthcare. Lipman says counseling and medical care, which homeowners may need in order to search for and gain employment, aren’t available as people try to improve their financial situations.

Lipman and her colleagues completed their study in 2008 after surveying almost 800 residents in four states, including California, Florida, Arizona and Nevada, which accounts for 51 percent of foreclosures in that year alone. Lipman’s researchers recommended combining services at intervention sites such as foreclosure courts or even housing agencies that provide counsel. She also says that while nurses are capable of providing screening, counseling and other types of care for such distraught homeowners with impaired health, the sheer volume of defaults and foreclosures presents a population that is under-recognized with mental health issues.

The study found that since healthcare access might be limited for homeowners in financial hardship, they could benefit from referrals and health screenings for affordable healthcare services in addition to social services and financial advice or counseling.