Half of students struggling with their mental health – poll

Updated: Aug 23, 2021

More than 1 in 2 students have experienced a worsening in their mental health since September, according to a new survey.

The findings were published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) as part of its Student Covid Insights pilot programme, which intends to examine university student behaviour and wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the mental health and wellbeing of students has been of particular concern due to their isolation from home and society.

Including the views of 2,004 students, the report reveals that 57% of university-goers have experienced a worsening in their mental health since the start of the Autumn term, with 1 in 5 (22%) stating theirs was much worse now.

Life satisfaction and happiness have been substantially affected among students, with mean scores for both (5.3 and 5.6, respectively) being lower than among the general population (6.7 for both).

Mean scores for anxiety levels also reveal concerning results. For the question 'overall, how anxious did you feel yesterday?,' the average score for students was 5.3 compared with 4.2 for the general public.

The majority of students polled (63%) also believe that COVID-19 poses a significant or major threat to their physical or mental health.

Read more: Online young adult mental health pilot kicks off in Jersey

Across Europe, mental health among workers has reportedly deteriorated during the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes in the UK where recent reports have shown an increase in doctor's notes for mental health issues compared with usual levels, and a significant proportion of people working from home being concerned with the impact of COVID-19 on their work-life balance.

The latter finding was actually felt strongest among 18 to 24-year-olds with 63% saying that they regularly check their emails outside of working hours.

To read the full ONS report, click here.

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