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High burden: Debts often make you sick

High burden: Debts often make you sick


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Debt and illness are mutually dependent
Health problems are one of the main causes of over-indebtedness. Last year, one in seven clients of a debt advice center in Schleswig-Holstein stated that they had fallen into debt mainly due to illness, addiction or the consequences of an accident. At the same time, over-indebtedness often leads to mental and physical problems and makes you ill. The relationship between debt and health has now been highlighted at a specialist conference organized by the debt advice center in Kiel.

More people go into debt through illness
More and more people are in debt due to health problems, addiction or as a result of an accident. 14.3 percent of clients of debt advice centers in Schleswig-Holstein cited these points as the main trigger for their over-indebtedness in 2015 - in 2014 it was 13.7 percent. At the same time, more and more people are getting sick from debts because they have a serious impact on their psychological and physical condition. These correlations have now been clarified at a specialist day of the Schleswig-Holstein Debt Counseling Coordination Office in Kiel, which took place as part of the nationwide “Action Week Debt Counseling 2016” (June 6-10). Experts from Germany and Austria provided information on the current state of research and demonstrated solutions using projects.

Debt often leads to social isolation
Illness is therefore particularly often the main cause of over-indebtedness among unemployed clients (18.2%), and 7.4% of those in employment. According to a report by the Diakonie Schleswig-Holstein, the coordination office for debt counseling assumes, however, that the number of unreported cases is much higher, since presumably only a part of the over-indebted people will contact a counseling center.

At the same time, the proportion of people who get health problems from their debts is increasing. “Overindebtedness is more than just a material problem. It has a serious impact on those affected and their families. The threat to the existential basis leads to social isolation and has a significant impact on physical and mental health ”, the head of the coordination center, Alis Rohlf, is quoted in the text.

Reform of the German social system is complicit
From the perspective of social researcher Gerhard Trabert, the numerous social cuts of the past 15 years (“Agenda 2010”) would also share responsibility for the current development. Because the significantly higher personal contribution in the health care system, people with low income in particular would either accumulate debts or no longer go to the doctor. “As a result, the diseases worsen or become chronic. In addition, the death rate among those affected is increasing, ”said the professor of social medicine and social psychiatry at the RheinMain University in Wiesbaden, according to the announcement. "In the meantime, many patients who suffer from cancer are more afraid of social decline than of the direct effects of the disease," explains the expert. (No)

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