Students continue to suffer in silence

Three quarters of students admit they don't ask for help for their mental health and wellbeing because they're embarrassed

Research commissioned by Unihealth, the health and wellbeing messaging platform for students, has revealed that sitting exams and running out of money tops the list of life events university students have found most stressful.

The survey also showed that almost of quarter (23%) of students suffer from panic attacks during exam time and 27% seriously consider dropping out of university all together. Despite this, only 7% seek help from a counsellor.

Three quarters of students admit they don’t ask for help because they’re embarrassed, they don’t know where to find it or they think it’s a waste of time. Nearly a third (28%) would prefer to receive advice from a private message sent directly to their smartphone.

Surprisingly, the survey showed that students are the ones putting pressure on themselves during exam time (64%), rather than academic tutors (12%) or parents (12%). This is leading to an increase in negative behaviour such as eating badly, which almost half (49%) of students admitted they do more of during exam time, pulling all-nighters (35%) and drinking alcohol (16%).

“Students are clearly putting themselves under a huge amount of pressure when it comes to exams leading to poor health and bad decisions,” said Daphne Metland, Director at UniHealth, a wellbeing and resilience mobile messaging programme for university students.

Metland also said that the majority of students starting university now are digital natives, communicating mostly via their smartphone, and that a “digital solution which delivers behavioural change messaging, provides an alternative way in which students can identify wellbeing issues they have and opens up a confidential platform for self-help.”

The survey found over three quarters (76%) of students believe more 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.