How higher ed institutions can mitigate the mental health impact of financial stress for students 

November 08, 2023

How higher ed institutions can mitigate the mental health impact of financial stress for students 

Kaitlin Gallo, Ph.D.
Chief Clinical Officer

Most college students hope to achieve financial stability. However, preparing to live independently for the first time, finding their first postgraduate job, paying off student debt, all while supporting themselves financially can be overwhelming and daunting. But now, with skyrocketing housing costs and an uncertain economic forecast, students’ worries about their financial future are rising along with inflation.  

A recent Studocu survey reveals that 55% of U.S. college students said their mental health worsened because of inflation and 60% are very or extremely worried about their financial situation. The survey also shows that college students fear inflation will harm their future financial situation and affect their post-graduation job opportunities.  

Constantly agonizing over finances can negatively impact a student’s mental health and ability to focus on academics. According to a research study from the University of Southampton, financial troubles and worrying about debt while in college increase students’ risk of mental health conditions like depression and alcohol misuse.  

Leaders at higher ed institutions need to consider the financial stressors that students are experiencing and how they may impact their academic performance. More than three-quarters of bachelor’s degree students reported in a Gallup-Lumina report that they have considered dropping out in the previous six months because of emotional stress. In 2022, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy strongly encouraged higher ed administrators to provide sustainable support for college students all the time, not just during a crisis, such as the pandemic. “Periodic injections of support are important, but we’ve got to continue that investment long term,” he said.  

Christie Campus Health offers a range of solutions that complement on-campus mental health services and can support students experiencing mental health challenges due to financial stress. Christie’s services, which are provided at no cost to the students, include a 24/7 clinical support line; psychiatric prescribing; Navigators to assist with referrals and specialty care; science-backed meditation and mindfulness tools through the Headspace app; and SilverCloud, a self-directed and clinically validated Internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy (ICBT). Contact Christie today to learn more. 

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