This blog post is part of the World Suicide Prevention Day blog tour organized by my friend Melanie. It originally appeared on MDE last year, but I wanted to share this information again since unfortunately, quite a few people have come across this post while seeking relief from suicidal thoughts due to financial stress and hardships. If you or someone you know is feeling suicidal, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit www.Suicide.org
Getting ahead financially is hard, especially when you feel like your situation is hopeless. This week is National Suicide Prevention Week and I wanted to get honest and real about one of the main reasons why people commit suicide – money problems and unemployment
I’ve never felt suicidal about money problems before, but I have about other issues during a very dark time in my life and I went through some post-partum depression as well after I had my son. I know what it’s like…
To feel completely hopeless and feel like you have nowhere to turn.
To feel like you’re drowning and can’t breathe.
To feel like every day is the same.
To feel like you want to bury yourself in bed after your alarm goes off in the morning because you don’t have the strength to get up and face another day.
All of these feelings can wear you down and get unbearable, but let me tell you something.
Suicide is NOT The Answer
Don’t commit suicide over debt or any other financial situation for that matter. Suicide is a permanent action. There is no turning back. It is NOT a fix or a solution. If you have student loan debt, most of it can’t even be forgiven even if you pass away.
If you have family, kids, friends etc., think about all that you would be leaving behind. I look at my son some days and I just can’t even translate the love I have for him into actual words. We both love each other deeply and I can’t even think about potentially leaving his side early if it is not in God’s plan.
My child is my main motivation to keep striving toward success. I’ve put up with bad jobs in the past and I’m currently battling with debt myself but he is my main motivation to keep hope alive. Over the years, my loved ones have continued to show me that when someone truly loves you, they don’t care about how much money you have or what you can offer them.
It also releases so much pressure from a financial standpoint.
There Is Life After Debt
Like I said, I’m not debt free yet and I’ve had debt since I became an adult, but I know there is life after debt and it is achievable. This is why killing yourself over debt or money problems is never the answer. I offer plenty of financial tips and advice on this site, but I know it doesn’t always apply to everyone.
I know that some of you are trying your absolute best, but there are situations you encounter that are beyond your control. Maybe you were saddled with 6 figures of student loan debt. Maybe you had a medical emergency that left you with an overwhelming amount of bills and the inability to work. Maybe you can’t afford to take care of your kids or go back to school.
No matter what your situation is, it’s important to have faith and understand that we all go through seasons in life. We have high points and we have low points. Sometimes the storm lasts longer than you would have hoped, but the key is to seek out help. If you are reading this or searched for help online and found this post, I want you to do abandon any suicidal thoughts and promise me that you’ll do a few things to get back on the right track.
1. Go to Suicide.org or call 1-800-273-8255
Suicide is never the answer and there is always a much better option to take as a solution to your money problems. First, you need to talk to someone and let all your frustration and built up anxiety out.
Then you need to seek out help. There are many survivors and inspirational people you can talk to on the suicide hotline that can help change your outlook on life.
2. Talk to Your Lenders
If you have debt and it’s starting to take a toll on your mental and physical health, let your lenders and creditors know and see if you can negotiate a deferment period to put your debt on hold temporarily or if they have any debt relief options to offer you like consolidation or refinancing. Refinancing can help lower your interest rate, but you need to look into the option carefully and talk to specific lenders to see if it will help your specific situation.
I know most medical debt does not have interest, but the constant bills and calls can be nerve racking so placing a call to your creditor can be a polite way to request that they ease up.
3. Consider Debt Management Counseling
Debt Management counseling can help you get back on the right track financially even if you are starting basically from scratch. Debt management counseling is different from debt settlement which are companies who charge high fees and promise they can help you get rid of your debts or boost your credit score. I find those companies to be based on illegitimate principles because they often encourage you to stop paying your creditors, pay a ton of fees, and they make false promises. You can read more about why it’s best to avoid these types of companies here.
On the contrary, you need to talk to someone who can help you create a budget and a plan to manage your debt and pay it off. Non-profit debt management agencies won’t charge you a penny and will help you learn about options you may qualify for like federal student loan relief programs for example.
To connect with a non-profit credit and debt counselor certified by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, click here.
4. Exhaust Your Resources
Finally, if you are struggling to pay your bills and make ends meet, there are plenty of resources available to explore. I always recommend government assistance programs (AKA welfare) to people who are struggling with finding a job, paying for food, childcare, and medical care, or unable to secure housing.
When I couldn’t afford to pay for food or medical care 5 years ago, I swallowed my pride and signed up for government assistance programs and I was so grateful for the help because it helped me get where I am today.
Government assistance is divided by state and county so you must contact your local county office to fill out an application and see what benefits you can qualify for. I will caution that many government assistance programs have long waiting lists due to the high volume of applications they receive and the cases they accept so this may not be an instant relief option but it can come in handy when benefits kick in.
If you have a young child, WIC (Women, Infants, and Children), can provide food and nutritional assistance and applications are often processed at a faster rate than with other government programs.
You can also take advantage of private and free resources in your community. Many churches and organizations like Catholic Charities provide weekly community food pantries along with free clothes. If you are looking for employment opportunities, the Department of Labor has free Adult Training Programs for people who have been laid off.
You can also check to see if your area has a local extension office that provides free community resources and employment assistance.
Right after college, I signed up with Illinois WorkNet which is a free program that allowed me to prepare my resume, attend workshops, and meet with a caseworker regularly who sent me job leads and conducted mock interviews. There are tons of resources out there to consider instead of giving up hope and you just need the motivation to seek them out.
Don’t Give Up
We all have days where we feel defeated, but in the end, you can’t give up for good. Life is too precious and beautiful to give up on. Again, suicide is not the answer and it’s not a solution. Life is the answer. It may not be a perfect life, but it can be a debt free life where you find financial stability despite where you came from.
If you know anyone who may be battling depression or suicidal thoughts due to their financial situation, I hope you share this with them and encourage them to keep going.
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