(917)-526-0766 | 200 S Service Rd Suite 108 & 110A Roslyn Heights, NY 11577 | Boca Medical Plaza 7100 West Camino Real Suite 404 Boca Raton, FL 33433

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.



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