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With students reporting significantly worse mental health than the general population, charities urge sector to redouble efforts

credit, Lucia Bencini-Clements: With students reporting significantly worse mental health than the general population, charities urge sector to redouble efforts

University Mental Health Day organisers, Student Minds and the University Mental Health Advisors Network (UMHAN), have called on the higher education sector to re-prioritise mental health support for students in light of concerning statistics.

Recent ONS research has identified that student wellbeing scores are significantly lower than those of Great British adults and 16-29 year olds generally – with 24% of students reporting low life satisfaction (compared to 10% of adults and 10% of all 16-29 year olds). Additionally, 17% of students reported feeling lonely (compared to 7% of adults and 9% of all 16-29 year olds) and 30% reported low happiness scores (compared to 13% of adults and 12% of all 16-29 year olds).

As such, this year’s University Mental Health Day (9 March) will serve as an urgent reminder to the government and higher education sector as a whole to review student wellbeing services and associated funding, shine a light on the support already on offer and identify areas for improvement.

Rosie Tressler, CEO, Student Minds, said:

“We know that universities have been faced with increasing pressures in terms of staff strikes, funding and student numbers, but we simply can’t afford to turn our attention away from these concerning findings.

“Students should be engaged in fulfilling, rewarding learning opportunities and supportive communities, but for some reason, they are struggling much more than other adults and young people. This is something we simply can’t ignore.

“It’s also worth remembering that, in prioritising student mental health, we will be able to contribute to student retention and academic achievement – all of which has a knock-on effect for society as a whole given the fact that today’s students are tomorrow’s doctors, scientists, artists and business leaders. We must continue to look at what is going wrong for them and do all we can to address these problems before they hit crisis point.”

Student Minds also explains that the cost of living crisis has left students fighting for more financial support, yet they often find they are ineligible for cost of living schemes, and government support specifically designed for students is at a 7-year low. 

In fact, research conducted by Student Minds found that 60% of students said that their current financial situation was negatively impacting their mental health, and 31% have cut back on eating, with 46% saying they have cut back on things they do for enjoyment. 

These findings further underline the need for accessible financial and mental health support at university. Student Minds is currently campaigning for the government to improve their financial support for students, following the announcement that maintenance loans will only increase by 2.8% next year, despite inflation currently reaching 11%. 

Rosie added: “The Government must act now to reconsider student funding, and university leaders must be intentional in their commitment to supporting student and staff wellbeing and taking a whole-university approach to mental health. No student should be held back by their mental health.”

In addition to encouraging an increased focus of on-campus university mental health services, Student Minds is also using University Mental Health Day to remind students that they can access its free online support platform, Student Space, 24/7. The site offers support and advice on money and financial concerns, academic stress and pressure and relationships and social life. It also serves as a directory to signpost students to the services offered by their university.

To find out more about University Mental Health Day visit

To access Student Minds’ mental wellbeing resources, visit

To access support and information on how the cost of living crisis is impacting students, visit

To access Student Minds latest research, visit

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