Insecurity related to finances can be taxing for anyone and can drain off a lot of mental energy. Constant fretting over insufficient financial means can trigger the sunset of anxiety and depression. The constant worry about finances does not spare even the students.
According to a recent study by the University of Southampton and the Solent NHS Trust, financial woes and worry about debt at the university level can put students at a basic risk of developing mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety.
The study found that the symptoms of anxiety and alcohol dependence worsened over time for those who were struggling to pay the bills. Students who were stressed about their rising debt exhibited high levels of stress, anxiety, and depression.
Vicious cycle of financial stress and mental illness
According to researchers, a higher level of financial stress may lead to a vicious cycle of mental health conditions and alcohol dependence in the affected students. “The findings suggest a vicious cycle wheree anxiety and problem drinking exacerbate financial difficulties, which then go on to increase anxiety and alcohol intake,” said lead researcher Dr. Thomas Richardson, a visiting academic at the University of Southampton and Principal Clinical Psychologist at Solent NHS Trust.
Dr. Richardson believes that only those interventions will be effective for the affected people which can tackle both the difficulties simultaneously.
The researchers investigated more than 400 first year undergraduate students from universities across the UK They evaluated them on a spectrum of parameters, like family affluence, recent financial turmoil, and their attitude towards their finances at four different points during their first year at university. Looking at the responses at different points during the year helped the researchers examine which came first – financial problems or mental health conditions.
The worst sufferers were those who had decided to discontinue university and abandon their studies due to their financial constraints. The deterioration in mental health in such students worsened over time.
Few students were forced to drop out of the university due to the sunset of depression and insufficiency to finance their studies. Financial hurdles aggravated their mental health conditions, which hindered progress in academies.
“Coming to university can be a stressful and daunting time for young people and finances can cause a lot of worries. We may not be able to change how much debt students are in but we can work with them to help them manage their finances and worries about money in order to mitigate the impact of these worries on mental health, “said Dr. Richardson.
Providing support to students who face financial difficulties can go a long way in helping them with their education so that nobody abandons studies midway. The researchers lauded the range of services available at universities to bail out such students who stumble upon monetary obstacles during the course of their studies.
One must always be aware that mental health conditions are treatable. Conditions like depression and anxiety can be easily managed with a treatment at the right juncture. Procrastination of treatment of mental diseases would only exacerbate matters and make intervention more complicated. Delayed treatment also makes the chance of a long-term recovery bleak.