37% Of First-Year Students in England Show Depression Symptoms, Survey Finds

COVID-19 Higher Education News by Erudera News Oct 31, 2021

Depression

37 percent of first-year students in England have shown “moderate to severe symptoms of depression” while 39 percent of students said that “some form of anxiety disorder was likely” since the start of the Autumn term 2021, a survey by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has found.

When asked whether they have noticed that their mental health or well-being has changed since the autumn term this year, 43 percent of new students emphasized that their mental health and well-being had improved much or is “slightly better.”

Differently, 23 percent said that their mental health or well-being was “slightly or much worse” since they started university, Erudera.com reports.

In a Sick, Control, One, Fat, Food (SCOFF) questionnaire, 23 percent of new students suggested they may have issues with food or body image, with 27 percent saying that they may have an eating disorder.

According to ONS, more than a fifth of first-year students have engaged with mental health and well-being services since September last year.

  • 47 percent used general practice or primary care services.
  • 30 percent went to a private counselor or mental health service provider.
  • 28 percent used the National Health Service (NHS) or Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) program.

The survey further revealed that 46 percent of new students claimed their academic performance has been “significantly or majorly affected” since the COVID-19 pandemic, which is lower than 53 percent of the general student population.

38 percent of students said they did not feel well prepared to study at a university due to lack of face-to-face learning, 18 percent of students said it had not affected them, and 14 percent said they felt well prepared.

According to other findings, 53 percent of students said they would prefer blended learning in the future, mixing in-person and virtual lectures or seminars, 40 percent said they would want only face-to-face education, while 5 percent chose only online study.

The same survey has shown that 90 percent of university students in England have received COVID-19 vaccines, with 78 percent being fully vaccinated and 12 percent receiving only one dose. 53 percent of students vaccinated with only one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine said that they believe that COVID-19 poses a major or significant risk to them.

Due to an increase in the number of students in the UK asking for mental health support, the Universities UK (UUK) previously urged the government to provide immediate funds for university well-being and mental health services, which would be used to improve the support for students and the latter to be able to access those services easier.

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