Cibyl’s Student Mental Health Study 2022, run in partnership with Accenture, Clyde & Co, Imperial College London and Universities UK, highlights growing concern for the mental health and wellbeing of students and graduates.
The findings from the survey of over 12,000 students were presented today at Imperial College London, and revealed that 81% of students have been affected by mental health difficulties, compared with 60% in 2021.
The mental health difficulties range from reporting some symptoms of mental ill health to having suicidal thoughts.
For LGBTQ+ students, the picture is particularly concerning, with 91 per cent experiencing mental health challenges.
Loneliness has been identified as a significant and continuing issue, with 27% of students surveyed saying that they do not have any friends at university. Even when students say they feel supported by their university, a third admit to feeling lonely at least once a week.
Students continue to find it difficult to access services within universities and the NHS due to increasing demand and increasingly complex cases.
Access to mental health support is important to young people when they are choosing a university and a future employer. Around half of students (46%) felt that their universities supported students with mental health challenges well and almost two-thirds (63%) of students with supportive university environments said they'd prioritised mental health provision when choosing a university. 51% of graduates also said that it was important or very important that their future employer offers ‘robust mental health provision’.
Lisa Marris, Head of Research at Cibyl, hosted the launch event. Guest speakers included Rosie Tressler, CEO of Student Minds, and Professor Hugh Brady, President of Imperial College London. A panel of representatives from the four partner organisations discussed the key learnings from the study, whilst a panel of seven students talked openly and movingly about their own mental health challenges.
“The declining mental health of students and graduates is a deeply concerning and growing problem that needs urgent attention.
“Young people should feel able to disclose mental health difficulties and it’s positive that this seems to be the case.
“Universities and employers can help by creating healthy environments which encourage good wellbeing, a sense of community and connectivity, and prevent ill-health. However students, graduates, and all our young people also need faster access to effective support services.
“Increasing awareness around mental health is not enough for the scale of this crisis. We hope the findings from this research will help support the call for further change and improvement in young people’s mental health support.”
Professor Steve West CBE, President of Universities UK and Vice-Chancellor of UWE Bristol, said:
“The findings of this year's annual student mental health survey make for tough reading - our students are reporting increasing difficulties with their mental health, loneliness, inequality and poor access to care - but are not surprising to anyone working in the university sector.
“We know that university support services are witnessing surges in demand. We know that record numbers of children and young adults are being referred to NHS mental health services.
“The key question is how we translate these findings into better outcomes for students. There are no easy fixes. This involves a long-term commitment to change from our sector, strong partnerships with the NHS, embedding well-being along the journey from schools through higher education and into employment. Above all this change must be shaped by students themselves and informed by their experience. That's why I welcome this report and look forward to launching the 2023 survey.”
To download a copy of the report please visit Student Mental Health Study 2022 | Cibyl
Lisa’s presentation can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/SnulvQ84HXQ
February 24, 2023
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