The only way I can get out of my student loan debt is to kill myself.
I want you to read this again: The only way I can get out of my student loan debt is to kill myself.
When I read this sentence, I get emotional. I can feel the pain I can feel the despair in the words. It creates a tightness in my chest while holding back the tears as I think about what that means. You can feel the burden on your shoulders when you think that the only way out is to end your life. Isn’t that the worst thing you’ve read?
But do you want to know something? I read this sentence twice this year when speaking to the readers here on this page.
And the truth is, there are a lot more people out there than the two readers who reached out to me. People we haven’t necessarily connected with, but you might find this article and feel a little weight taken off their shoulders.
This blog post is part of the annual Suicide Prevention Awareness Month blog tour presented by MentalHealthandWealth.com. If you feel at risk of suicide please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME at 741741.
Suicide is not the solution (it makes things MUCH worse)
I will be right with you on two levels. First the emotional level and second the factual money level.
Suicide is never the answer because there are countless people who love you and are dependent on you. Your mother and father. Your brothers and sisters. Maybe your children. I know that today you think you would do them all a service by taking a “burden”, but I promise you Your leaving will be a 1000 fold burden and cause more pain and distress than you can imagine.
No amount of money is worth your life. You can live with student loan debt. You can smile with student loan debt. You can play with your kids with student loan debt. Ending your life is not the answer. There are myriad ways to deal with your student loan debt, and there are tons of people who can help you navigate the confusing and frustrating world of student loan debt. But that’s gone if you kill yourself.
And you think you might make it easier for your family financially. Well, I am here to tell you that it is not. Here’s why:
- Your family is NEVER hooked on your federal student loans, it’s just you – so you don’t burden them financially
- However, if you have a co-signer for your student loans, as is the case with 90% of personal loans today, your co-signer (usually a parent) will have to pay the debt in the event of death.
So in situation # 1 you are not a burden with federal loans. It may seem difficult to you today, but you have no control over others.
In situation # 2, if you die and have student loans, your parents might still owe the debt. And when you’re gone, how are they going to pay for it? You really leave them with a burden that wasn’t there before.
How to Get Help With Your Student Loan Debt
Now let’s talk briefly about your credit because we know that it is the driving factor behind your despair. To be burdened with a debt that you believe you can never repay is crippling. You can feel like your debt is suffocating you – both mentally and physically. If you’re deeply in debt and feel like you don’t have a chance to repay it and the phone rings at collectors and you get mail, it’s a dark time.
However, there are several easy ways you can get help with your student loans. Follow this simple plan of action.
During Covid-19: All federal student loans are currently suspended until January 31, 2021. That means no payments, no interest. Take this time to take care of yourself and other needs. Read this guide to Covid-19 Student Loan Support Programs.
Step 1. Call your lender. Too many people are scared to call their lender. But what no one seems to realize is that student loans are government owned and managed by student loan companies. These companies get paid to manage the loans – also by helping borrowers stay up to date. They are actually there to help. Yes it is a call center and yes you may get a representative who is not very helpful. But there are many, and most of them will point you in the right direction.
Step 2. Immediate reprieve or indulgence. If right now you just need relief and can’t make a payment, ask for a respite or forbearance. This means that you will not be able to make payments for a certain period of time. You don’t want to do this for too long because your credit balance will keep growing.
Step 3. Get an income-based repayment plan. These are the best federal student loan repayment plans if you are struggling. You pay 10-15% of your monthly income or less when you are near or below the poverty line in your state. So if you have no income your monthly payment will be $ 0. And that $ 0 monthly payment is counted towards student loan issuance. It’s a win-win situation.
If you have personal loans … When you have personal loans, there are fewer options, but there are still things you can do to get help. Some lenders offer programs that are very similar to earnings-based repayment and deferral. You can also consider refinancing your loan, which could lower your monthly payment. We break down all the options for private student loans here.
And please, please, make sure you avoid these common student loan scams. When help is your most urgent, you are being hunted down by people and businesses. It is easy to become a victim when you are already hurt inside.
Where to find someone to talk to (or get help for a friend)
If you or someone you know is having trouble, please contact a counselor. When you or someone you know talks about dying or wanting to kill themselves, feeling hopeless or having no reason to live, feeling trapped or in excruciating pain, or believing that they are a burden to others fall, please ask for help.
You can call this hotline and speak to someone 24 hours a day: 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
If you see a post on social media, don’t ignore it. All of the major social media sites have ways to help a friend in need.
- Facebook: Click here to anonymously report someone as suicidal on Facebook. A member of the Facebook security team sends the user an email with the Lifeline number and possibly a link to chat with the Lifeline advisor.
Click here and select “Self-harm” to send an email to Twitter reporting a suicidal user. Twitter sends the user a direct message with the lifeline number.
- Youtube: To report suicidal content, click the flag icon under a video and select “Harmful Dangerous Acts” then “Suicide or Self-harm”. You Tube will then review the video and may send a message with the lifeline number to the user who uploaded the video.
Some other resources you may find helpful:
You can also check at your local university to see whether your graduate school offers discounted counseling sessions.
Remember, you are not alone with your student loan debt. But no matter how you feel about your debt, your friends and family need you and care for you more than you can ever imagine.
PS I encourage you to share this article on social media, not for me but maybe for someone who is suffering in silence and can benefit from this article. You don’t want to know more about it when it’s too late. Please share as you see fit.