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Financial problems damage mental health of university students

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Posted August 11, 2016

University students have a lot of things to worry about. Ideally, they would only stress the knowledge they are getting and preparing for classes. However, a lot of students have to worry about their financial situation as well. A new study from the University of Southampton and Solent NHS Trust have found that worrying about financial situation and debt increases the risk of depression, alcohol dependency and other mental conditions.

Worrying about financial problems drives mental health issues and alcohol dependency, which worsens financial situation even more. Image credit: Morshedhasan12 via Wikimedia, CC0

Worrying about financial problems drives mental health issues and alcohol dependency, which worsens financial situation even more. Image credit: Morshedhasan12 via Wikimedia, CC0

It is not uncommon for students to worry about paying bills, as a lot of them have just entered adulthood and financial independence. Scientists say that those, who worry about paying bills usually, face greater chances of anxiety and alcohol dependence, while those who were stressed about their debt could also develop depression along other conditions. Furthermore, these mental conditions fuel a ‘vicious cycle’, meaning that they create even bigger levels of financial stress. Scientists say that in order to battle this problem effectively, both mental problems and financial difficulties should be addressed at the same time.

Scientists surveyed more than 400 first-year, undergraduate students, from universities across the UK. Participants had to talk about their family affluence, recent financial difficulties and attitudes towards their finances. They had to answer these questions four times in their first year at university. Among other findings, this research revealed that people who were thinking about leaving their studies because of financial difficulties experienced greater damage to their mental health.

Scientists say that it is important to help students to learn to manage their finances. Even though it may not be possible to help them with their debt, specialists could help students to reduce stress, related to financial situation. One of the students who gave up on his studies, Andy Jones, said: “When I was not very well, I was not able to work part-time so was unable to supplement my income during university. Having financial difficulties increased my day to day stress levels and something usually had to give and it was usually my academic studies. It was a vicious cycle”.

University students always have a lot to worry about, but have to focus on their studies, try and get as much knowledge as they can. This vicious cycle of financial problems and mental issues has to be addressed by further studies and intervention programs in universities.

Source: southampton.ac.uk

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