Student Debt Is Taxing Young People’s Mental Health


After the end of the three and a half year-long payment pause, borrowers have discussed cutting back on “essential purchases” in an effort to make ends meet, or how the loss of financial breathing room was impacting their lives. For some, the pressure of student debt and resumption of payments meant delaying or forgoing mental health care — even if debt was contributing to their mental distress.

“Student loan debt is absolutely exacerbating the mental health crisis,” Aissa Canchola Bañez, policy director at the Student Borrower Protection Center, told Teen Vogue. “We have also heard from borrowers who report delaying routine medical and dental care and putting off buying necessary medication because of the way that their student debt is straining their budgets.”

Maya Chavis, 21, a first-generation student who graduated early, told Teen Vogue that many of her family members didn’t go to college because of the cost. When Maya was in college, she waived the fee that would’ve afforded her on-campus physical and mental health care so she could put those funds toward bills. “I put my mental health on the back burner, and my [physical] health on the back burner, for the fact that I didn’t want to have to pay for it later,” she said.

By the time she was out of college and payments resumed, “I remember getting that first bill and I’m like, Mom, I can’t pay this,” Maya recounted. At that time, she was working three jobs, and she says there was no way she could afford rent, her phone bill, and her car payment with another $175 bill on top. Her loan payments were temporarily paused under economic hardship deferment when she was on Medicaid, but the number still loomed over her. “It’s kind of like a terror type thing,” she said. “It’s always in the back of my mind.”

Kristen Lindgren, the professor and clinical psychologist at the University of Washington School of Medicine whose study found a relationship between student debt and stress, said, “When you have the larger financial uncertainty that’s just happening demographically to this age group, then you throw in student debt, then you throw in uncertainty about if and when and how much your payments are going to be, that’s really, really challenging to navigate.”

In addition to the “psychological toll” of student debt, the stress of payments can make forgoing care or support feel like the only feasible option. Arielle Kuperberg, professor of sociology at University of North Carolina Greensboro, conducted research alongside Joan Maya Mazelis, associate professor of sociology at Rutgers University, that found students who took out loans reported being more likely to delay medical, dental, and mental health care to save money. Six and a half years after graduation, 46% of graduates who had loans reported delaying mental health care in order to make ends, Kuperberg told Teen Vogue. (About 30% of graduates without loans reported delaying mental health care.)

Maya now works as a campus organizer for RISE, a nonprofit focused on making higher education more accessible and affordable, and receives benefits through work. But she said she doesn’t want to see a doctor because she doesn’t want to accumulate another bill. That includes counseling, which Maya noted can be expensive. “It’s a lot to say, okay, like, I’m gonna go talk to somebody about my issues, but to pay $200 for it–that could have been my groceries for the month or I could have paid for my student loans for that month.”

Source link

Tags: college, education, iou, student debt

You May Also Like

Anonlychild Fall 2024 Ready-to-Wear Collection
3 Celebrities Who Have Broken the Cannes Dress Code


Must Read

No results found.