82% of UK university students admit experiencing stress and anxiety, newly published research suggests.
The research report commissioned by UniHealth, the health and well-being messaging platform for students, indicated that 1 in 5 UK University students have suicidal feelings, 82% experience stress and anxiety and 45% have feelings of depression.
Making friends, doing well on their course, cooking, money and feeling under pressure to take drugs were the top five biggest worries for students starting university – a third of which didn’t feel supported by their institution ahead of freshers’ week.
Worryingly, three-quarters of the 1,000 students surveyed by UniHealth suggested that they don’t ask for help because they’re embarrassed, don’t know where to find it or think that it’s a waste of time.
Dr Dominique Thompson, an in-house university GP said: “Being able to manage stress, eat healthily, make new friends and sleep well are vital, not only for student wellbeing but great academic outcomes. As the research suggests, many students shy away from getting help, so it’s crucial universities consider how they can offer different support services that fit with their students’ lifestyles, and digital is one of the answers.”
76% of UK students indicated that better wellbeing support from their university, support to help fit into ‘university life’ and ways to talk about their unhappiness would stop them from dropping out of studies.
Signalling the need for different types of wellbeing support, the research indicated that 28% of students would prefer to receive support via private messages sent through social media e.g. Facebook messenger.
Daphne Metland, Director at UniHealth said: “We know that wellbeing support helps a huge number of students through university life and prevents them dropping out. However, we’re also aware it’s unrealistic to ask universities to provide 24/7 face to face support… Messaging programmes delivered on Facebook Messenger offer private 24/7 messaging support and can cover a range of topics from mental wellbeing and resilience to sexual health and contraception. A digital solution means students can get the help they require, when and where they need it.”
The findings come amidst recent reports that more students than ever are dropping out of university due to mental health problems.
Further, on average, every student who drops out is suggested to cost a university £33,000.