This blog post is part of the 5th Annual Suicide Prevention Awareness Month blog tour presented by MentalHealthandWealth.com. If you are feeling suicidal, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to 741741.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but 2020 has pretty much sucked for almost everyone. The nightly news is littered with bad story after bad story. We’re in the middle of a pandemic. Our country is literally and figuratively going up in flames. Millions of people have lost their jobs and had to file for unemployment. Businesses have shut down or are struggling to survive. It’s not a pretty picture, and it doesn’t look like it will change any time soon.
It’s not difficult to imagine families everywhere struggling with anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues with all that’s going on. I can relate. While we’ve been fortunate to keep working through all of this, we haven’t escaped increasing anxiety while trying to stay safe, protect our family financially, and navigate the changing times.
Suicide Prevention Awareness Month
September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Honestly, it’s not a topic I’ve had to deal with much in my life until this past year. I’m not going into specifics out of respect for others, but we had someone in our extended family commit suicide this past year. I wasn’t incredibly close to him at this stage in our lives beyond our friendship through social media. But that doesn’t make the reality of what happened any less horrific.
The permanence and finality of suicide are almost haunting. Yes, people die every day, including loved ones that make up our whole world. But suicide is different. It’s rooted in hidden pain that other people were either never aware of or couldn’t prevent.
I am no expert when it comes to suicide prevention. At the bottom of this article are some resources that will provide much better help than I ever could. Not being an expert doesn’t mean we should stay silent.
Family Money Adventure was created to help families, so I’m taking the time to say:
Suicide is not the answer.
It’s not the answer to any question you could be asking yourself. As a personal finance blogger and writer, I get asked financial questions often. Money is one of the most significant sources of stress. If you’re dealing with major financial troubles right now and don’t know what to do, please reach out. I’d love to talk to you. But know this — there’s no financial struggle or amount of debt worth ending your life over. The same thing holds true if you’re problems don’t involve money.
Financial troubles aren’t the end for you
Being in debt sucks. Debt is like a disease, invading every corner of your life and mind. Every walk to the mailbox is stressful, hoping there’s not another bill or notice that you’re behind on payments. Even if you are paying down your debt, it feels like it never goes away.
Yes, debt can be a long-term problem and wreak havoc on your life for years and even decades. But you aren’t alone, and there is help you can seek out instead of turning to self-harm or suicide.
Get help now instead of waiting
There is help for you if you’re struggling financially. Here are a few things you can do to improve your situation right now:
- Contact your creditors: Reach out to creditors for help. See if they can work with you on lowering your payments or interest rates. There might be deferment options you can pursue until you’re on your feet again.
- Get help from a non-profit credit counseling agency: Organizations like the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) can help you get your finances in order.
- Look at financial assistance programs: There are all kinds of financial assistance programs available to help you deal with your debt and even erase it in some cases. For medical-related debt, many hospitals have financial assistance programs set up. For student loan debt, look into forgiveness options, and income-based repayment plans. Also, check with federal, state, and local government agencies for more financial assistance options. Also, check with local churches and non-profits for more resources.
Talking about your feelings isn’t so bad
My wife and I regularly check in on each other and our kids to see how they are doing and feeling in our home, beyond the “how’s school?” and “what’s up?” questions. We aim to have an open dialogue in our house through regular conversions one-on-one and as a family.
Is it awkward? Yes, it can be.
Is everyone always open about how they feel or what they are going through? No.
Is it helpful? Most of the time.
Do we mess this up, forget to keep up our dialogue, and just assume everyone is OK? All the time! But we’re working to make this a habit.
Talk to friends
Maybe you could open up to a friend if your family isn’t an option. Think about people in your life you would feel comfortable talking to and reach out to them. I know you’re asking yourself why they would want to deal with this burden, but know that they want to help more than you give them credit for.
Seek help from a counselor
Many people think talking to a counselor is only for really messed up people. The truth is that:
- We’re all probably messed up if we’re honest with ourselves.
- Counseling is one of the best ways to talk about situations in your life before they become bigger problems.
Therapy allows you to take a step back from your situation and get help from someone who can view what’s going on from a different perspective. Half of our family has spoken with a counselor in the past or regularly. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
Your life is important enough to seek out help.
Resources for people in crisis
Here are some resources to check out if you or someone you know and love struggles with thoughts of suicide, depression, and anxiety. Don’t try and deal with this on your own.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or call 1-800-273-8255
Crisis Text Line or text HOME to 741741
Open Path Collective: Affordable therapy. You can also check your local college to see if their graduate program in counseling offers discounted sessions.
Do you deal with anxiety and stress because of finances? How do you deal with this? Let us know in the comments below!
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Kevin Payne is the budgeting and family travel enthusiast behind FamilyMoneyAdventure.com. He’s also the host of the Family Money Adventure Show podcast, where he helps families learn to manage their money better so they can afford to do the things they love.
Kevin is a freelance writer specializing in personal finance and travel. He is a regular contributor to USA Today, Forbes Advisor, Bankrate, Fox Business, Credible, and CreditCards.com.