Student debt has been a serious issue as of late. Currently, it’s threatening the financial situation of millions. The average student loan debt is mounting at $30,000, and some have thousands more hanging overhead. It’s difficult for graduates to get ahead when they’re dealing with high interest rates and large payments.
Another pressing issue in society is mental health awareness. More and more people are coming out about their struggles with stress, anxiety, depression, and other emotional health issues. Now, new studies show that the student debt problem is affecting more than just finances. It also has a bearing on your mental health.
As Student Debt Rises, So Does a Need for Counseling
As the cost of student debt rises, so does the need for emotional support, according to a Russell Group study. When college tuition fees rose to an average of £9,000 in the United Kingdom, the number of students seeking counseling rose by 28 percent.
Another study from Mind, a mental health charity, also showed a rise in the need for counseling services as student loans and tuition fees increased. Their findings revealed a 72 percent rise in the need for counseling at Cardiff, a 57 percent increase at the University of Leeds, and a 43 percent increase at Oxford.
The same study showed that more than 1.85 million adults in the UK took advantage of mental health services, an increase of 0.15 million when compared to the previous year. There seems to be an undeniable connection between these numbers and the rising debt level throughout the world.
Debt Relief Strategies Can Help
Counseling and other professional help can be integral in overcoming the resulting mental health issues, but they may never go away if the debt remains. Focusing on ridding yourself of the burden of debt and feeling the freedom of paying off one loan at a time can lift a lot of stress and anxiety from the situation.
Using debt relief programs, cutting up credit cards, reversing debt accrual habits, sticking to a budget, and other debt relief suggestions can be an integral part of restoring mental health for these students.
Mental health is a growing issue, but the 78 percent of students who struggle with it can at least gain some relief by taking control of their situation.
From Stress to Depression: The Underlying Cause
Slowly, people are becoming more comfortable talking about mental illness, and many students report increased stress levels, anxiety, and depression. Anxiety has been the most common reason for students seeking counseling, and it’s not just the student loans that have led to counseling visits. Because students don’t want to take out more loans, they’ll often work while going to school, resulting in less sleep and much higher stress levels.
“Today’s students face an unprecedented financial burden with student loan and tuition fee debt higher than ever before,” Stephen Buckley of Mind told The Guardian. “On the other side of this is the financial stress and uncertainty around employment on graduation. Both of these are major contributors to mental health problems like anxiety and depression.”
The ability to make money and be financially free has also become more important to graduates as a whole. The old adage warns that money can’t buy happiness, but it hasn’t stopped students from worrying about it almost constantly.
“The evidence is clear. The marketization of education is having a huge impact on students’ mental health,” Shelly Asquith, vice president for welfare at the National Student Union, also told The Guardian. “The value of education has moved away from societal value to ‘value for money’ and the emphasis on students competing against each other is causing isolation, stress and anxiety.”
Asquith also added that the level of support offered to help students cope with the difficulties of money-related emotional health issues aren’t equipped to handle the influx.
“It has also forced institutions to compete aggressively against each other and put more money into advertising initiatives than student support services,” she said. “The NUS is urging the sector to take these statistics seriously, and consider an urgent review of the level of funding given to mental health services, particularly counseling.”