>>Hello, my name
is Cecelia Morris. I am the Chief Judge
of the Bankruptcy Court of the Southern District
of New York. I’m reaching out to you
because I’m concerned about the growing suicide rate
in the United States and its connection to
the emotional health of people who are in financial distress. The Center
for Disease Control recently released alarming
information showing suicide is a leading cause of death
in the United States. As a bankruptcy judge, I’m in a position to see
firsthand the emotional toll that personal debt
takes on folks. I want to make sure that anyone
who is in financial distress and who has thought
about suicide knows that suicide is not a good
response to financial problems. There are professionals
who can help you with both your emotional health
and your financial health. Sometimes the first step
of reaching out for help is the hardest. Too often,
financial difficulties are shrouded in secrecy. Sometimes close family members,
even spouses, don’t know
about money problems. Feelings of embarrassment
or shame can make it difficult to take the step
to reach out to your creditors, let alone to reach out
to a bankruptcy attorney or a mental health
professional. Financial difficulties should
not be an embarrassment. Getting the proper help can have
a positive impact on you and your family’s physical
and emotional well-being. Sometimes debt relief can be
as simple as debt consolidation, refinancing, or negotiating
a deferment period with your creditors
to put your debt on hold. If you are unable
to get the relief you need from taking these steps, filing for bankruptcy
is also an option. There are many myths
about bankruptcy, and it’s important
to get the facts. The best source of information
about bankruptcy is from a reputable
bankruptcy attorney. You can look at other videos
on our website for that kind of information. If you can’t afford
a private bankruptcy lawyer, free assistance
may be made available through your local
legal services organization or bar association. It is also possible to file
bankruptcy without an attorney. The forms that you need to do so can be found at your
local bankruptcy court or on its website. It’s important to remember
that with a little bit of time and some effort,
you can move on from bankruptcy, reestablish your credit, and have a much less
stressful financial future. I can’t emphasize enough
that the emotional impact of overwhelming debt is just as important to address
as the debt itself. Suicide is an irreversible
action to a temporary problem. You are not alone
in your struggle. Reaching out to a mental
health professional, a clergy member,
or even friends or family can help ease the burden and may be the most
important thing you do. More information about
bankruptcy can be found on this court’s website.
Thank you for listening.