It’s often said that the consolation of hitting rock bottom is that the only way is up. When you actually find yourself in this difficult place, though, it can be hard to feel optimistic, even in the presence of overused self-help quotes. Taking care of yourself as best as you can and seeking support, despite how out of reach it may seem, is the direction people usually take to successfully overcome hardship. If this is your current situation, here are four services that may be of help to you.
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1. No Interest Loan Schemes
If you have been hit with an expense like an urgent medical bill, education costs, or even just general living expenses after an unanticipated job loss, there are affordable financial services available from community-focused lenders. You may be eligible for no-interest loans to help cover your essential costs without a high level of risk. These are a much safer alternative to high-interest payday lenders or credit card programs. Your NILS provider may also offer free and confidential financial counseling, so be sure to take advantage of the full-service package.
2. Community Counseling and Free Help Lines
Talking to somebody can make the biggest difference when you are going through a tough time. There are various nation-wide support lines that are free to call for those in need. From mental health, domestic violence to addiction and youth issues, there’s a wide range of hotline numbers that can provide safe and confidential advice and advocacy at no cost.
When calling, be as patient as you can when waiting to get through to an available operator, and remember that you can share as much information as you are comfortable with – your privacy will always be respected.
3. Substance-Abuse Support Groups
If you have been living with addiction, local support groups are accessible in-person and online, not only in America but internationally. Alcoholics Anonymous is an informal society that provides support to millions of people in recovery from addiction through meetings and a 12-step-recovery program. There are no membership fees and anything discussed during meetings remains confidential. The only requirement to join is a desire to stop substance abuse, meaning members are accepted regardless of how far along they are in their recovery. Similar support groups that are also available include:
- Narcotics Anonymous
- Gamblers Anonymous
- Support groups for families and people affected by a loved one’s addiction
These groups serve as a powerful reminder that none of us is alone. They can provide a sense of shared support which may be difficult to find in people who have not experienced similar circumstances.
4. Food Help
There is help dedicated to making sure no member of a community goes hungry. If you are in a difficult situation, you may be eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which helps with your groceries if you meet certain criteria. Support can also be available on a local level through soup kitchens, charity services, and faith-based institutions (like your church, synagogue, or mosque). People who operate these services do so with compassion. They are aware that everybody goes through these periods in life, so there is no need for allowing guilt or shame to stop you from reaching out.
5. Debt Help
The rampant availability of credit, soaring interest rates and the proliferation of unscrupulous lenders have made debt one of the most debilitating forces in modern society. Left unchecked, it can send individuals falling into a trap of financial hardship from which it can take years to extricate themselves. For those trapped in this cycle of debt, it can seem like there is little or no hope. In fact, people struggling with unmanageable debt are at double the risk of suffering mental health problems. Chillingly, 16% of all suicides in the US are reportedly committed as a result of the individual suffering extreme financial hardship. With these sobering figures in mind, out of control debt is no joking matter.
For those who find themselves suffocating under the pressure of spiralling debt, help is available. There are numerous not-for-profit and for-profit organisations that provide assistance for people to get out of debt and achieve financial stability. There is no magic solution to breaking the debt cycle. It is a process that takes time, discipline and a degree of sacrifice. However, it’s crucial to remember that help – and hope – is out there.
Every life experience is unique to the individual. While it can be difficult for many people to swallow their pride and ask for help – it is something that virtually everyone has to do at one point or another. Remember this when following up with any of the above services and stay strong – you will get through this.