Helping Students Address Financial Stress and Related Challenges

Financial health and mental health are closely intertwined. One can affect the other, and both can affect your physical health, behaviors, relationships, and more. It’s helpful to assess your symptoms and their underlying causes, and then seek out appropriate help.

Here are some common financial challenges students face and when it’s helpful to seek financial counseling:

  • Living paycheck to paycheck. You may have limited income and struggle to cover your basic expenses. Financial counseling can help you create a budget, prioritize your spending, and identify ways to increase your income or reduce expenses.
  • Accumulating too much credit card debt. College students are often targeted by credit card companies and may be tempted to use credit cards to pay for expenses they can’t afford. A financial consultant can help you learn about responsible credit card use, pay off existing debt, and develop strategies to keep spending in check.
  • High levels of student loan debt. Having to take out loans to pay for tuition and living expenses can leave you with significant debt after graduation. Financial counseling can help you understand the terms of your loans, explore repayment options, and develop a plan to manage debt.

Here are some common mental health challenges related to financial stress. You may want to seek support from a mental health counselor if you are experiencing any of the following:

  • Anxiety and depression. Constantly worrying about paying for tuition, housing, food, and other expenses can easily lead to feelings of stress and other mental health challenges.
  • Poor nutrition. Financial stress may lead to skipping meals or purchasing cheap, unhealthy foods that are high in fat and low in nutrients.
  • Lack of sleep. Worrying about money may cause you to lose sleep, which, in turn, can negatively impact your physical energy, thinking, and overall mental well-being.
  • Reduced physical activity. Financial stress may limit your ability to participate in physical activities, such as going to the gym or participating in sports. This can lead to a sedentary lifestyle, weight gain, and other health issues. 
  • Substance misuse. For some, financial stress can lead to using alcohol, drugs, or other unhealthy behaviors. Left unaddressed, these behaviors could lead to addiction and other health issues.

Your Assistance Program can help you improve your financial well-being and mental health—by providing appropriate care to address your underlying financial stress and related mental health concerns. Reach out to your Assistance Program anytime for personalized support. The program is free to use and confidential.