During their university years, young people should be exploring academic interests in depth, making life-long friends, and attaining new levels of independence—with joy.
Yet according to our new study, conducted in partnership with Cibyl, many are struggling with the pressure to achieve, finding it hard to make good friends and experiencing challenges with their mental health. The pandemic made an already difficult situation even worse.
There’s no doubt that university leaders throughout the UK want to support student mental health and have taken steps to do so. However, our research revealed that the half of our students didn't feel their mental health was supported at university and many are reluctant, or unable, to access the care they need. We must work smarter to help these young people—our future parents, workers and leaders—achieve and sustain better mental health.
In that spirit, we present our findings and we also propose five specific interventions. Our hope is to help universities better understand student mental health, and accordingly, change the way they support student wellbeing, so that students are equipped to realise their most promising futures.
The isolation currently felt by students appears to be contributing significantly towards declining mental health.