A fatal peril of life in the 21st century? Via the Huffington Post, C. Cryn Johannsen says:
Suicide is the dark side of the student lending crisis and, despite all the media attention to the issue of student loans, it’s been severely under-reported. I can’t ignore it though, because I’m an advocate for people who are struggling to pay their student loans, and I’ve been receiving suicidal comments for over two years and occasionally hearing reports of actual suicides. More people are being forced into untenable financial circumstances as outstanding student loan debt has surpassed $1 trillion. Currently, 36 million Americans have outstanding federal loans.
I first started appreciating the depth of the problem of suicidal debtors a few years ago, with a post on my blog, All Education Matters, entitled, “Suicide Among Student Debtors: Who’s Thought About It?” I was stunned by the responses. In comment after comment, people confessed to feeling suicidal.
I spoke to Dr. Peter Kinderman, a clinical psychologist at the University of Liverpool, who has written about the disastrous mental health effects of recent austerity measures in Greece. When I told him about the suicidal notes that I’d been receiving from desperate debtors, he said this is to be expected. Kinderman had served on the Department of Health’s Ministerial Advisory Group in Great Britain, from 2010 to 2011, which issued a report predicting that the European economic crisis would have a significant impact on mental health. Not surprisingly, the problem seems particularly acute in Greece and Italy, two countries that have been hit hardest by austerity measures, and have seen a jump in suicides.
Suicide, Kinderman insists, is not the result of “a brain malfunction.” He added, “There are psychological consequences when economies fall into decay.” Under circumstances of severe economic stress, he told me, “Feeling suicidal is understandable. It is not a disease, it’s a problem.”