Monday, March 13, 2017

-Puddister said it's a sad situation, but not uncommon. "This is a young person with great potential who is living with a very serious mental health problem." In the fall of 2015, Robson finally left the program for good.-----------------------Catheryn Maddie Smith Two years in school and one full year off....and a debt of over $170,000. Must have been one heck of a party year! Common sense would suggest; spend the money once you are making it. In the mean time, live you educational years just like every other poor student who is just getting by with the basics.-------------Julie Ali @Catheryn Maddie Smith Common sense is absent when the the mania phase is in full bloom. I'd suggest you read up on this mental illness. It's very difficult for the individual suffering from it to manage even with adequate mental health services which we do not have in Alberta. I feel for this man. He is ill. He can't finish his program and therefore the bank can do what it wants to him. The bank doesn't care if he is sick. I think we should encourage RBC to review this case and decide to forgive the loan. It would help if we all write to the folks at RBC. I'm sure there is room in their major profit margins to help out a man who really has no way to pay the bank back.« less----

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/rbc-sues-med-student-from-dauphin-1.4021823

On the hook for $170K: RBC sues student forced out of med school by mental illness

Bryan Robson left University of Saskatchewan after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder

By Erin Brohman, Kelly Malone, CBC News Posted: Mar 13, 2017 4:00 AM CT Last Updated: Mar 13, 2017 10:59 AM CT

Bryan Robson, who is from Dauphin, Man., is being sued by RBC for more than $170,000 for a student line of credit.

Bryan Robson, who is from Dauphin, Man., is being sued by RBC for more than $170,000 for a student line of credit. (Don Pittis/CBC)

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When Bryan Robson was accepted to medical school, he never imagined he'd be diagnosed with a mental illness that would prevent him from becoming a doctor.

Now, he's being sued by the bank for more than $170,000 for a student line of credit he feels he'll never be able to repay.

"I guess I just felt trapped or helpless," Robson said.

Robson, who is from Dauphin, Man., was accepted into medical school at the University of Saskatchewan in 2012 after three years studying sciences.  

Bryan Robson

Bryan Robson, 25, says he had to drop out of medical school after being diagnosed with bipolar affective disorder. (CBC)

Getting a student line of credit was an easy choice, Robson said, because he knew he wouldn't be able to afford tuition and wouldn't have time to work during the rigorous program. Costs would be about $14,000 a year for tuition plus books, living and other expenses.

Robson went to the RBC in his home town and set about making the investment in his future. He said that, at the time, he felt protected signing the document after a quick explanation about premiums for insurance.

"It's a fairly hefty commitment, but luckily there is disability insurance and life insurance. But you kind of go into this not knowing the extra risks that medical students face," he said.

"It's kept pretty quiet but it's actually a pretty serious problem."

Pressures of the program

Two years into the program, Robson was experiencing depression and anxiety. He knew something was wrong, he said, so he took a year off.

"There is just, day in and day out, very heavy things about illness and witnessing suffering" he said. "It's described as drinking from a fire hose. I'm sure the workload as well plays into the stress. There is not a lot of sleep and not a lot of rest."

Although he tried for a while to resume the program, he was eventually diagnosed with bipolar affective disorder.

University of Saskatchewan

Bryan Robson left the College of Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan because he was experiencing stress, depression and anxiety. (Google Street View)

Medical students are at a high risk for depression and suicidal ideation, according to a 2016 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The study found the incidence of depression among this group was 27 per cent, compared to eight to nine per cent in the general population.

High demands placed on the students, intense studying and sleep deprivation are contributing factors, the study said.

Derek Puddister, a psychiatrist at the University of Ottawa who used to run wellness programs for medical students with mental health issues, said high debt loads add to stress levels.

"We've developed a system in which the tuition for some of the health professions has gotten so high that I would imagine that only the very rich can easily afford to enter the profession, or those who are able to commit to staggering debt loads," said Puddister. "And neither of those situations sounds particularly Canadian to me."

Puddister said it's a sad situation, but not uncommon. "This is a young person with great potential who is living with a very serious mental health problem."

In the fall of 2015, Robson finally left the program for good.

"I felt a weight lifted off of my shoulders … I felt like I had made the right decision."

'In no way capable of servicing the loan'

After leaving school, Robson said he went to an RBC location in Saskatoon assuming everything could be worked out. He thought he was covered by the disability insurance.

"I went in with my rose-tinted glasses thinking that, 'Yeah, well here I am,' let's go find out what kind of medical documentation they need or figure out where we go because I was in no way capable of servicing the loan. I was barely meeting my living expenses," he said.

A representative at the bank told him that the insurance wouldn't cover it, and that he was on the hook for the $170,000, said Robson.

While a good portion of the money was used for school expenses, Robson said that some of the debt was amassed during spending sprees, a common symptom during manic periods.

He decided to take some time to regroup, and focussed on doing yoga while working at an orchard in British Columbia.

While out of Saskatchewan last summer, Robson said he received a call from the bank during which he was told that mental illness isn't the same as physical illness, and he would have to pay back the money.

Soon after, the bank filed the paperwork to sue Robson, but he didn't get it until January.

Meanwhile — unaware of the lawsuit — Robson filed a complaint in November with the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

In an emailed statement to CBC, RBC said they "do not take allegations of discrimination lightly and ensure all clients are treated with fairness and respect in their dealings with us."

Since Robson returned to Saskatoon he has been picking up a bit of work as a non-qualified substitute teacher, but said that with the lawsuit and giant bill hanging over him, it's hard to move forward.

"I just want to get back to society, to the normal people, find something that I'm good at, and do it," he said.

Expected to repay in most cases, RBC says

In the statement RBC said they are unable to comment on specific situations due to client privacy, but that when a client applies for a loan or insurance coverage, they are made aware of the terms and conditions.

"For student lines of credit, it is important to note that clients who choose not to complete or are unable to complete their studies, for whatever reason, are expected to repay the loan," the statement said.

RBC added that if a client qualifies for disability coverage, and needs to access the coverage during their studies, the client can make a claim and the insurer determines if the claim is payable under the terms of the coverage. Disability insurance covers both mental and physical disabilities.

But Robson said he was told he wouldn't be eligible for the disability insurance until after he graduated.
  • Catheryn Maddie Smith
Two years in school and one full year off....and a debt of over $170,000. Must have been one heck of a party year!

Common sense would suggest; spend the money once you are making it. In the mean time, live you educational years just like every other poor student who is just getting by with the basics.
  • 2 hours ago
Global Heart Hour
  • Global Heart Hour
@Catheryn Maddie Smith Literally one of the diagnostic criteria for bipolar disorder is indulgence in spending sprees. You are literally blaming someone's actions, as if they could have controlled it.
  • 1 hour ago
Elizabeth Davis
  • Elizabeth Davis
@Catheryn Maddie Smith i guess you didntvread the article ehere they cite his manic episodes as a cause of excessive spending. But you know... judge away.
  • 1 hour ago
Corrie Davis
  • Corrie Davis
@Catheryn Maddie Smith
 Did you read the story. Some of the money was spent during "manic" periods which is common with the illness he has. I realize that does make it more complicated but your comment is judgemental and not helpful.
  • 1 hour ago
Julie Ali
  • Julie Ali
@Catheryn Maddie Smith Common sense is absent when the the mania phase is in full bloom.

I'd suggest you read up on this mental illness. It's very difficult for the individual suffering from it to manage even with adequate mental health services which we do not have in Alberta.

I feel for this man. He is ill. He can't finish his program and therefore the bank can do what it wants to him. The bank doesn't care if he is sick. I think we should encourage RBC to review this case and decide to forgive the loan. It would help if we all write to the folks at RBC. I'm sure there is room in their major profit margins to help out a man who really has no way to pay the bank back.« less

  • Darren Gregory
Bankruptcy time. This gentleman might find out that RBC insured for this loss, prior to issuing the credit that they formulated out of thin air in the first place.

Once he is released from bankruptcy, he might then find that this 'debt' was sold by RBC, and now he is indebted to someone else.

The snake-shite that is our financial services industry in Canada is not underneath the surface what it appears to be on top.

There's fine-print for a reason, more often than not, it's printed small so as to dupe us into trusting what is proving itself, time-and-again in this world (financial services) not to be trusted at all.

Regardless, RBC, like the world we live in, will beat the day-lights out of a person with mental illness.

Every bully needs a target.

Institutionalized-Bully or otherwise.« less
  • 1 hour ago
Julie Ali
  • Julie Ali
@Darren Gregory I have to agree with you that banks do tend to be rather assertive about loan repayments.

If the person has no mental health issues, I tend to think banks are correct to do the collection of money due to them.

In this case, this man has a mental health issue and a debt load that is formidable. It would be difficult for any person to pay this back much less a person with a mental health issue. I'd suggest that the folks at the bank reconsider their tactics.

  • Hank McDonald
He must have went on one hell of a bender. I could go to Harvard for 2 years and it wouldn't cost me that much.
  • 1 hour ago
Julie Ali
  • Julie Ali
@Hank McDonald Bipolar illness can be associated with spending sprees. When an individual is not controlled with medication he can spend quite a bit of cash without any real understanding or insight into the problem.

It is troubling that this man is being pursued in this way.

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