We know that student mental health and wellbeing is high on the priority list for the universities and employers that we work with, and it’s of increasing concern now that the pandemic has exacerbated a student mental health crisis. To respond to this, Cibyl, GTI’s market research consultancy, launched a national mental health study in 2020/2021, engaging 12,000+ students across 140 UK universities.
Given the critical findings this research produced, we have decided to turn this into an annual survey, positioning ourselves as the go-to provider of insight into UK students’ mental health. It’s clear that both universities and employers need continuous data to understand how their young people are feeling and which initiatives are working. As such, we are going live with the Cibyl Student Mental Health Study 2022 in December. This time, we have Universities UK and Clyde & Co as confirmed partners, helping us ensure that the research has an impact on the way universities and graduate employers support young people.
The 2021 report uncovered a range of issues surrounding student mental wellbeing and the support available. Firstly, it’s clear that certain backgrounds and lifestyles are linked to poorer mental health outcomes, with 35% of all students experiencing a mental health challenge. Secondly, although a significant number of students come to university with existing mental health challenges, 39% of all students say their mental health has declined since starting university, so it seems that university is a trying time for many young people. Finally, although most students are aware that support is available, 17% of them speak to no one about their mental health. This is largely due to the fact students either don’t know how to express their feelings or feel embarrassed, in other words young people are faced with stigma and a lack of tools to talk about their mental health.
There is then the question of what happens during the transition between university and employment, the resilience of our graduates, how much career preparedness impacts wellbeing and what employers can do to better support young people – something else our report touches on.
Earlier this month, I presented at the UUK Mental Health in Higher Education Conference alongside the ONS, Student Minds and SMaRteN. It was an honour to share our insights alongside these organisations, reinforcing the fact that the sector is in critical need of this research and that national representative research, where data can be cut by institution and by student groups, is the solution.
We are actively looking for university partners to come on board for the 2022 research, by both supporting the study and tapping into the insights to understand how their own institution compares to the national average and what improvements might be needed. If you’re interested in learning more, we would love to speak to you about the research – please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We believe that time has come to be proactive about understanding and tackling the student mental health crisis we’re facing, and we can only do this by working together.
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