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The Connection Between Student Loan Debt and Mental Health

The rising cost of pursuing a college education and the mental health consequences that result is something on the minds of many college students today. I can certainly say for myself that choosing to pursue a postgraduate degree is a decision that is both exciting and terrifying. The looming thought of simply borrowing a lump sum of money and knowing I have to pay it back can easily make me lose sleep at night. As a graduate student, I realize that I put so much academic pressure on myself to succeed because I know how much financial stress I am under with using student loans. In terms of mental health and substance use, a study published in the Journal of American College Health states that women report more mental health problems and lower levels of substance use compared to men. From a gender phenomenon, this study also highlights that women are more likely to borrow student loans and borrow a larger amount of student loans compared to men. This research shows that women are more likely to experience mental health problems related to student loan debt. The student loan debt crisis is a continuing topic of debate in economic, political, and educational arenas. It undoubtedly affects the mental health of young adults today.

Cognitive and Emotional Burden of Student Loan Debt

How do students feel about their student loan debt and how is it affecting their overall mental health? A study published by the Journal of Evidence-Based Social Work sought to understand the natural mental health expressions of student loan debts using data collected from Reddit and Twitter. The data from Reddit showed that users expressed not only doubts and insufficient knowledge regarding their student loan debts, but also expressed thoughts of self-harm, hatred, feelings of entrapment, and not knowing what to do about their loans. Users from Reddit also expressed mental health concerns such as anxiety and depression. The pattern of cognitive and emotional burden was reflected on Twitter as well. With users expressing feelings of stress, depression and the need for mental health treatment options. Students wished someone had told them about student loans. This study demonstrates how student loan debt affects the mental health of college students and shines a light on the underlying symptoms of anxiety and depression that many individuals experience.

Lessening the Burden

It is no secret that the growing economy demands higher-order skills in the job market and points out the causal relationship between education level and income. This demand, coupled with the rising cost of receiving a college education, has forced many individuals and families to rely on student loans. While seeking out student loans can be necessary, the impact it can have on one’s mental health is something to take seriously. Seeking social support, psychoeducational resources, and mental health treatment during a stressful financial time can help tremendously and start to ease your burden of student loan debt.

Are you looking for a safe space to discuss decisions regarding student loans and education? Together, we can provide you support and guidance.

Contact Us at Here or call us at 917-526-0766 and start your journey today.

An experienced counselor specializing in Anxiety Treatment or Depression Treatment can help.

 

 

References
Qian, Y., & Fan, W. (2021). Student loans, mental health, and substance use: A gender comparison among us young adults. Journal of American College Health, 71(3), 930–941. https://doi.org/10.1080/07448481.2021.1909046
Sinha, G. R., Larrison, C. R., Brooks, I., & Kursuncu, U. (2023). Comparing naturalistic mental health expressions on student loan debts using Reddit and Twitter. Journal of Evidence-Based Social Work, 20(5), 727–742. https://doi.org/10.1080/26408066.2023.2202668

The Positive Effects of Exercise On Your Mental Health

In the crazy world we live in, it is crucial to prioritize your mental health. But what does that truly mean? What are ways you can prioritize your mental health? There are a variety of effective ways to care for your mental health, however, this blog is going to survey one of those ways- exercise. Exercise is a great method and a powerful strategy to strengthen your mental well-being.

The positive effects that exercise has on your mental health relate both to your mental and physical improvement. Some of the benefits of exercise are as follows:

1. Exercise Releases Endorphins: Endorphins are chemical neurotransmitters that are released by your brain. They are typically released when one feels pain or stress (in order to help the body relieve some of the feelings). However, endorphins are also released during pleasurable activities. Endorphins act as a natural painkiller and help elevate your mood. When you workout, these neurotransmitters are released to reduce stress, alleviate pain, and boost your sense of well-being!

2. Exercise Reduces Stress and Anxiety: Cortisol is the hormone produced by our bodies that is associated with stress and anxiety. High levels of cortisol are tied to weight gain, exhaustion, and depression. While high-intensity workouts (like HIIT) may cause a spike in cortisol levels (which is not necessarily bad), low-impact calming exercise has been shown to reduce overall cortisol levels. Exercise can act as a healthy outlet, causing mental stress release, but can also physically lower your stress hormones and lead to a more stress-free life.

3. Exercise Improves Sleep Quality: Although scientists are not completely certain of the mechanism for how sleep quality improves with exercise, studies have shown that exercise increases the amount of slow-wave sleep. Slow waves are the deep portion of sleep that humans get. This type of sleep is what allows the brain and body to refresh and function optimally. Better sleep is linked to happiness and cognitive functioning, all aspects of better mental health.

4. Exercise Can Boost Self-Confidence: Working out can help improve body image and self-esteem. The more you commit to regular exercise, the more progress you will see. You will likely feel accomplished and happy with the physical improvement associated with your fitness commitment. The physical change may lead to a mental change as you will have a greater sense of self-confidence and pride for your hard work and progress.

These are only some of the many mental health benefits of exercising regularly. Not only does exercise improve your physical health, but it leads to both mental and chemical changes within your brain to improve mood, reduce stress, and strengthen your sense of self-fulfillment. With all this being said, exercise is not the only mechanism for mental health improvement and may not work for everyone. If you are struggling, you may want to talk to someone professional who can recommend other strategies.

Here at Apple Psychological, we have many different professionals who can offer support and help get you started on your mental health journey today. If you are struggling, feel free to reach out to our team at: (917) 526-0766, or book a FREE consultation call.

An experienced therapist specializing in Adult Counseling can help.

Breaking Cultural Barriers: Seeking Mental Health Treatment

Breaking Cultural Barriers: Seeking Mental Health Treatment

In today’s interconnected world, mental health has become an increasingly important topic. However, many individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds face significant barriers when it comes to seeking mental health treatment. Cultural factors, such as stigmatization, language barriers, and lack of awareness, can impede access to the care they need.


How can we overcome these cultural barriers and empower individuals to prioritize their mental well-being?.

 

Destigmatizing Mental Health:

One of the most critical steps in overcoming cultural barriers is to challenge the stigma surrounding mental health. Cultures may have different beliefs and attitudes towards mental illness, often leading to discrimination and marginalization. 

 

By initiating open conversations, sharing personal experiences, and promoting education, we can debunk misconceptions and foster a more accepting environment.

Promoting Cultural Competence in Mental Health:

Mental health professionals should embrace cultural competence to better understand and serve individuals from diverse backgrounds.

This involves learning about cultural norms, beliefs, and values, as well as addressing cultural biases that may affect treatment approaches. By fostering a culturally sensitive environment, mental health providers can build trust and improve the efficacy of their services.

Language Accessibility and Interpretation Services:

Language barriers can significantly hinder individuals’ ability to access mental health services. To overcome this challenge, healthcare organizations should strive to provide language accessibility through professional interpreters or multilingual staff members. 

Offering translated materials and ensuring that mental health information is available in various languages will help bridge the communication gap and enhance treatment accessibility.

Community Outreach and Awareness Programs:

Raising awareness about mental health within culturally diverse communities is vital. Community organizations, religious institutions, and cultural centers can play a crucial role in promoting mental health awareness and destigmatization. Hosting workshops, support groups, and educational events can empower individuals to seek help and break the silence surrounding mental health issues.

Culturally-Adapted Treatment Options:

Recognizing the diversity of cultural perspectives on mental health, it is essential to develop culturally-adapted treatment options. Mental health services should incorporate culturally sensitive practices that respect the values and beliefs of different communities. Tailoring therapeutic interventions to align with cultural norms and practices can enhance engagement and treatment outcomes.

Peer Support Networks:

Peer support networks create safe spaces for individuals to connect with others who have similar experiences. These networks can be particularly valuable for individuals facing cultural barriers in seeking mental health treatment. Connecting with peers who share a similar cultural background can provide a sense of belonging, understanding, and encouragement to seek professional help.

Collaboration and Partnerships:

Collaboration between mental health providers, community leaders, and cultural organizations is essential to address cultural barriers effectively. By fostering partnerships, healthcare professionals can gain valuable insights into specific cultural needs and collaborate on initiatives that promote mental health awareness and access to treatment.

 

Online and Telehealth Services:

In the digital age, online platforms and telehealth services offer innovative solutions to overcome cultural barriers. These technologies provide remote access to mental health resources and consultations, removing geographical and transportation obstacles. 

Offering multilingual online resources and teletherapy services can extend the reach of mental health support to individuals who might otherwise face significant cultural barriers.

Overcoming cultural barriers to seeking mental health treatment is an ongoing process that requires collaboration, awareness, and cultural sensitivity. By destigmatizing mental health, promoting cultural competence, providing language accessibility, raising awareness, offering culturally-adapted treatments, fostering peer support networks, and leveraging technology, we can create a more inclusive and supportive environment for individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds. 

Together, we can break down the walls that stand in the way of mental health and ensure that everyone has the opportunity to seek the help they need.

Please send us a quick message if you have any questions.

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please reach out to our team at: (917) 526-0766, visit our

website at: https://applepsychological.com/contact-us/ or book a FREE consultation call at https://applepsychological.janeapp.com/ 

An experienced counselor specializing in Adult Counseling can help.