This morning when I got up to read the countless emails I receive every day from indentured educated servants, I read several disturbing ones. One debtor wrote, "I really don't see the purpose of my going on living anymore with the tag of massive debtor in this crazy USA."
The next message I read was even worse. This one came from a person whom I've developed a strong working relationship with. In it, she told me that a family member of hers, who is drowning in debt and working in a retailer's warehouse, informed his mother (who co-signed on his loans) that if his lender goes after her, he will end his life. As it turns out, his mother is being harassed by their lender. The lender is making threats to take the mother's house away, and she is naturally frantic.
I have written on the subject of suicide on the past, and that piece sparked a lot of conversation. I am sure those on the Hill and talking heads on the subject of higher education will write these debtors off, claiming that they merely have mental issues and ought to seek care. I don't disagree that these debtors, bless their hearts, need to be in therapy. However, to argue that it's merely on a personal level is missing the point entirely.
I posted a request for help to get in touch with senators and other state representatives in this mother's home state on my Facebook page, and the first response I received said: "Sadly, I would bet that anonymously, a lot of us have at least taken that horrible option into consideration."
If I take the time to collect more evidence from my readers, I am confident I could assert that suicidal thoughts among debtors are at epidemic levels. That's why we must act now to solve the student lending crisis. If you imagine millions of debtors and co-signers who are contemplating, or have contemplated, suicide, what does that do for the health of a nation?