58% of Students Claim Their Mental Health Has Worsened Since Beginning of Pandemic, Poll Finds

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More than half of students or 58 per cent of them have reported that their mental health has worsened since the COVID-19 outbreak, a poll involving 1,000 full-time undergraduate students to see how the pandemic has been affecting them, has revealed.

The latter has been carried out by the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) in collaboration with Youthsight, Erudera reports.

According to data, 14 per cent of students consider that their mental health is in a better state, whereas more than a quarter highlight that their mental health has remained the same.

59 per cent of full-time undergraduate students claimed that they are very satisfied or quite satisfied with the remote learning, which was 42 per cent in June 2020 and 49 per cent in March 2020.

51 per cent of students stated that they have been receiving face-to-face teaching; meanwhile, 49 per cent of them did not receive in-person learning at all.

When asked about mental health services or other services at their higher education institutions, students answered the following:

  • 16 per cent of students said that they are very unsatisfied or quite unsatisfied with mental health services at their universities/colleges.
  • 42 per cent of students said that they are very or quite satisfied with these services.
  • 50 per cent of students declared that they are very or quite satisfied with the provision of support services from their education institution such as career support services.

According to Ben Marks, CEO of YouthSight, it is very concerning that 16 per cent of students are very or quite unsatisfied with the university’s support on mental health.

Particularly when paired with the fact that 58 per cent of students consider their mental health to be in a worse state now than at the start of the pandemic,” he said.

Most students, specifically 56 per cent of them are very or quite satisfied with the way their education institution has been managing Coronavirus.

This year’s HEPI and YouthSight’s polling as well as the one conducted in June, have noted differences in opinions on how learning will take place this year. Data show that 21 per cent of students expected that all learning would switch online, yet 53 per cent of students are currently continuing studies remotely.

As per how they feel when it comes to their educational experiences, 79 per cent of students feel very or quite safe.

The Director of Policy and Advocacy at the Higher Education Policy Institute, Rachel Hewitt, said that the mental health of students had been an issue even before the pandemic took place. He urged universities to offer the necessary support to students in maintaining their mental health and wellbeing.

“With more than half of students concerned about how they will return to university after Christmas to start their next term, it is clear that the Government needs to publish guidance on this as soon as possible so students can be confident about getting back to their studies in the New Year,” he said.

Among others, 60 per cent of students claimed that they understand the recent guidance announced by the government regarding the end of term and travelling for Christmas, while 54 per cent of them expressed worry about returning to university in January.

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