A survey of more than 4,000 students suggests more than half think their mental health has deteriorated or been affected negatively by Covid-19.
The students were polled by the National Union of Students between 6 to 23 November 2020. The organisation said its survey highlighted the need to invest in mental health support. The survey suggests that 52% of students say their mental health has deteriorated or been affected negatively by Covid-19, and only 45% are sleeping well.
The survey suggests just three in 10 of those who reported worsening mental health (29%) had sought mental health support. Of those, 57% were satisfied with the support received. Most would like access to a counsellor, or someone to talk to, the survey’s findings suggest.
Around 57% said they are interacting less with other students at their institution and 65% less with clubs and societies.
Larissa Kennedy, NUS national president, said: “It should be no surprise that the majority of students have experienced deteriorating mental health as a result of the pandemic. It is deeply troubling that students are not getting the support that they need, with only 29% of those reporting worse mental health accessing services.
“Students deserve better than their treatment this term. It is time for governments to fund university, college and NHS mental health services to ensure all students can get the support they require. Students’ unions also need greater investment to continue to provide essential services to students.
“Covid-19 has not had an equal impact on all and has further entrenched the disadvantage that marginalised groups feel. Targeted support must be offered to students of colour, disabled students, student parents and LGBT+ students, and funding should be provided to mental health charities working with these groups.
“We must tackle the root of these issues. There was already a mental health crisis on campus that has been exacerbated by Covid-19. To alleviate this crisis students need greater financial support, accessible learning spaces and safe accommodation.”