Rewind 10 years and mental health was not spoken about like it is today. In fact, the number of mental health conditions disclosed since then has increased by seven times. A survey from IPPR found that 94% of universities have seen an increase in demand for counselling services. Whilst these numbers are truly horrifying, it is also a good sign that students are feeling more open and confident to speak about it.
However, there is still the question of whether student mental health is deteriorating, or whether we live during a time where disclosing mental health concerns and issues is less scary, as there is more support available.
Emma Selby, a clinical nurse consultant, says: “In numerous studies that we have done with young people, we have found that although they are more accepting of mental health, they are less likely to speak to somebody in person than two generations ago”.
It is no surprise that Covid-19 has negatively affected many people’s mental health, including students, and this is likely to continue next year.
Why is this happening?
In today’s world, everyone you have ever known or met is never more than a post, like or comment away. Yes – social media can be a great platform to build a community. It is a brilliant way of staying connected, but it also has a dark side.
In 2019, Marketing Charts found that these were the amounts of Gen Z adults (aged 18-23 years old) using social media.
Research proves the negative effect social media has on wellbeing. A survey from the Royal Society for Public Health of almost 1,500 14-24-year-olds found that Instagram has the most negative impact, and described it as “deepening young people’s feelings of inadequacy and anxiety”.
But, of course, it is not just social media to blame! University is a life-changing journey. Making new friends, moving away from home, managing finances whilst feeling pressure to meet expectations are just a few of the things thrown into the mix.
These challenges combined with trying to live the ‘perfect life’ may answer the ‘why’ question. Life can be hard for students. Studies show that 8 in 10 students have experienced stress of anxiety and without managing it effectively, it leads to worse consequences.
Financial impact and student retention
According to data from HESA, in 2018, there were over 2.3 million students studying in the UK which generated approximately £2.3 billion for the higher education sector.
However, our research shows that over 30,000 students withdraw from institutions each year for a variety of reasons, at a cost to the sector of over £300 million, which equates to around £2 million for an average-sized university. Our research discovered that a third of this loss is due to poor mental health alone, although this could be much higher due to the lack of detailed data captured at the point of withdrawal.
Now, imagine managing student wellbeing more efficiently and retaining this money. Especially in the current financial crisis, how much difference would this make?
It’s time to make a difference
Managing student wellbeing in an effective and efficient way makes a massive difference. In the past, there has simply been no way to do this due to a lack of central systems and disjoined internal processes.
There is now a university-wide solution that has been developed together with the HE sector. It helps you to connect teams, join the dots, provide insights, build student retention and protect students. That solution is Student Life.
Student Life allows university teams to:
- Report incidents – extremely useful for the current situation.
- Record concerns about a student.
- Manage cases effectively on an individual or a group level.
- Identify risks and intervene before it is too late.
- Access and share sensitive data securely with the right access permissions.
- Communicate better across the whole university.
- Monitor progression of each student and act timely.
- Track outcomes and rely on data to make a difference.
Use of Student Life is completely FREE OF CHARGE to the whole sector during the current pandemic.
Find out more about this industry-wide student wellbeing solution that could potentially save a student’s life.