Did you know nearly 30,000 Americans commit suicide every year? Although there are many reasons someone may choose to take their own life, in many cases, finances play a huge role in suicide. More specifically, individuals in debt are more likely to have suicidal thoughts. So, as a part of the 3rd Annual Suicide Prevention Awareness Month blog tour, I wanted to share some more of my personal debt story.
September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month
According to research performed by the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, there is a clear tie between finance and suicide. Individuals who’ve experienced a major financial crisis within the last six months are eight times as likely to have suicidal thoughts than those who aren’t holding any financial stress. The study went on to say that people with multiple debts, or individuals who are unemployed, are especially at risk.
Drowning in Debt
As you all know, I’m currently holding about $65,000 in debt with my other half. Although we already steadily work on paying things off, it gets heavy. Every time money comes in, it is going out on yet another debt repayment or bill.
If you’ve been following the blog for a while, you know that $65,000 in debt is still an improvement upon where I once was. At one point, I was homeless (living in a motel). I needed desperately to pay off a $1,600 debt in order to be able to have a home again. During my six months of being homeless, I hit some of my lowest of lows and, yes, even contemplated taking my own life.
I felt like life was a constant struggle with no relief. On top of feeling like I had no way out, I also felt as though my debt was burdening others. My other half just relocated nearly five hours to start a life together and I felt as though I was holding everything back – for him, for both of us. Not to mention, I was so broke and so tied down with finances that I couldn’t see many of my friends. I didn’t have a vehicle. I didn’t have money to go out. I felt alone.
Wake Up Call
We got a windfall that allowed us to pay off the $1,600 initial debt that was holding us back and got moved into an apartment within two months. After I got that paid off, I realized that things could (and would) improve as long as I remembered I wasn’t alone. More importantly, I remembered my life was more important than the debt I carried.
Debt is exhausting – emotionally and physically at times – but it is something most people have faced in their lives. If you feel like you are alone in this, you’re not. Millions of people are in debt, but it does not have to be a death sentence. I am living proof!
Startling Suicide Statistics
Because this month is about raising suicide prevention awareness, I wanted to leave you all with a few statistics and resources.
Who is at Risk?
- Suicide rates are highest in the spring.
- For individuals between the ages of 24 and 35 suicide is the second leading cause of death.
- Women are more prone to having suicidal thoughts, however, men make up 79% of all suicide deaths.
However, everyone is at risk for suicide if you experience depression or are feeling overwhelmed in life.
Suicide Doesn’t Fix Anything
I have lost family members and friends to suicide and I personally know the pain it can bring. Whether you’re up to your eyeballs in debt or feel like you are a burden financially, suicide is never the answer. In many cases, it leaves your family to pay for unexpected funeral costs. Not to mention, your family will experience an unbelievable emotional burden that will never be lifted.
Losing someone to suicide is absolutely heartbreaking. Speaking out about the link between money and mental illness, like depression, can help reduce the stigma and prevent further suicides.
This blog post is part of the 3rd Annual Suicide Prevention Awareness Month blog tour. If you are feeling suicidal, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to 741741.
- How Marian and Dave Paid Off $120,000 of Debt in 3 Years!
- How a Side Hustle Helped Melanie Lockert Break Up with Debt
- How Alicia and Ralston Used Faith to Cut Their Debt By $225K in Five Years
- Miriam’s Journey Out of Debt and Into the Life of Her Dreams
- How We Paid Off $65K of Debt in 11 Months on a Single, Middle Class Income
Amanda Blankenship is the Director of Social Media for District Media. In addition to her duties handling everything social media, she frequently writes for a handful of blogs and loves to share her own personal finance story with others. When she isn’t typing away at her desk, she enjoys spending time with her daughter, husband, and dog. During her free time, you’re likely to find her with her nose in a book, hiking, or playing RPG video games.