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I live in a world of facts and figures.

Being numerically literate comes with the territory in finance and debt mediation but there is one statistic which caught my attention a few months back, which has stayed with me and it’s a statistic which says so much about the world we live in.

According to the Office for National Statistics, the North continues to have the highest suicide rate per head of population with 16.5 suicides per 100,000 people.

Mental illness amongst us, is often overlooked and organisation AWARE, who quote the Department of Health claim that 13% of adults are diagnosed with depression. If you include those who suffer and remain undiagnosed, then it’s harder to comprehend the actual number.

So why draw your attention to this figure now?

Unfortunately, through my interaction with clients at GDP Equity Experts, I encounter those people who suffer from depression on a very regular basis.

One of the reasons we set up the GDP Partnership back in 2010 was to try and help those people who were suffering from serious financial and debt-related pressures. Our debt mediation business created a pathway whereby people could improve their often-precarious position and move on with their lives.

Over the last few weeks, the numbers of people contacting my team has increased at a fairly alarming rate. Our case rates have doubled year on year and with the fallout from Brexit and the ongoing austerity programme more and more people are being forced into dealing with their problems head on.  Unfortunately I do not see this pattern changing.

The stark realisation of financial failure can have a dramatic impact on people, families, relationships, and individually from an emotional and physical perspective.

The rates for depression and suicide in Northern Ireland are on the increase for a reason and there are some people who simply cannot cope.

Ultimately EVERYONE needs to be a little more sympathetic to the plight of those people who have found themselves in this unfortunate position.

Sure, everyone has a job to do, but we all – banks, private equity funds, accountants and lawyers – and the team here at Equity Experts – have a role to play in helping people make it through the trauma and strain.

Nick Leeson brought down Barings Bank with losses of over £850million before he had turned 30 years of age. In many of my discussions with Nick both as a business partner and a friend, he has always said that there was only one thing he could have done to improve his situation during that time, and that was to ask for help.

Last week we introduced 4 new clients to our team, all dealing with varying levels of debt but the one thing they had in common was that they all made it through to the point where they could ask for help.

In all cases there is help but taking that first step can be the hardest.

If you know if anyone who could benefit from speaking to myself or any of the team at GDP Equity Experts, then get in touch for a confidential and discreet conversation.


Conor Devine MRICS

Twitter: Conor_devine

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