Mental health is more than just a buzzword, here’s a breakdown

Eleana Davidson on 16 December 2020

Mental health has been an important and poignant theme throughout the entirety of this year. As situations, lockdowns and governmental decisions have evolved at rapid, unsettling speed, one thing that institutions and students have continued to stress is the importance of health and wellbeing. Universities know they need to be placing mental health at the forefront of everything they do right now, but what does that really look like? 

As we reach the end of 2020, and the Student Tracker, in our final report we break down and dig deeper into what is impacting students’ mental health and what really matters to them.

> Six in 10 students told us their mental health is negatively impacted by financial problems. 

> More than three in 10 say it’s impacted by having no access to counselling or support. 

> More than one in 10 say drug and alcohol is having a negative impact on their mental health. 

> Over seven in ten students felt angered because of things happening outside of their control, at least some of the time. 

> And finally, nearly four in 10 feel that physical illness is having a negative impact. 

Students are telling us that they are experiencing overwhelming levels of stress, across a range of issues. So how can you help? Each and every one of these stresses can be used as your map when planning content for the year ahead. We’ve spoken about the financial worries of students previously, but as a new intake of prospective students get ready with their applications for 2021, how can you further reassure this young and scared group that they can access the next chapter of their life? And here’s a teaser for you from this year’s National Clearing Survey: one in three Clearing students say mental health is a blocker to going to university. So it’s something you need to address, now. 

In terms of addiction struggles, are your health services signposted in easily accessible places for your current students who may be suffering in silence? Are there downloadable resources and FAQs that have already been created? Let your students know what support is out there, and where to find it. And for those concerned about physical illnesses, are your university sports staff on hand over social media suggesting ways to stay healthy during this sedentary pandemic? 

Don’t let mental health become just another buzzword. Every student’s mental health journey looks a little different and so requires a different level of support. Understanding the detail of these mental health struggles and weaving the solutions into your empathic, relatable comms, will go a long way to help support your current students and reassure your prospective students for 2021. 

That’s all from the Student Tracker for 2020; if you’d like to catch up on everything we’ve talked about this year, you can read our round-up blog here, and don’t forget to sign up to our newsletter to stay up to date with our student insights in the new year. 

Eleana Davidson
Eleana Davidson on 16 December 2020