Student Minds and the UPP Foundation are pleased to announce the release of their newest report, Climate Change and Student Mental Health. This report is the latest in a series of our projects supported by the UPP Foundation as part of their ongoing commitment to student mental health and wellbeing.
Uniting two of the most pressing challenges facing the higher education sector, the report explores questions of curriculum design, leadership, behaviour changes, the impact on specific student groups, the role of government and higher education institutions (HEIs), and more. The findings are based on a self-selected survey of students, and semi-structured student focus groups.
Selected findings include:
In recent years, increasing attention has been given to the relationship between climate change and mental health in the general population and in young people. Despite this, there is a limited body of evidence exploring this connection for students in UK higher education. More needs to be done.
Richard Brabner, Director of the UPP Foundation, said: "This fascinating report illustrates the need for universities to offer students practical and constructive ways for them to tackle climate change and wider environmental issues - not only for the good of the planet - but for their own wellbeing too."
“While a lot more research is required looking at the relationship between climate change and mental health, we hope the report sparks an important debate in the sector”
Rosie Tressler OBE, Chief Executive Officer at Student Minds, said: “Our vision is that this report is among the first in a growing body of research, establishing how climate change impacts students mentally and emotionally. We identified this knowledge gap in 2022 and were thrilled that the UPP Foundation backed this work. The report is testimony to our shared strategic ambition to understand how global issues affect students. While there is much more to be done, we hope the report has highlighted areas for further inquiry, as well as providing policymakers and universities alike with a starting point to understand and address this connection on a grander scale.”
The report will be launched during a webinar hosted by the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) which will take place online on 18th October 2023, from 10:30am-11:30am. Find out more on their website.
Student Minds is the UK’s student mental health charity. We empower students to build their own mental health toolkit to support themselves and their peers through university life and beyond. We challenge the higher education sector, health sector, and government to make student mental health a priority.
The UPP Foundation
The UPP Foundation was created in 2016 by University Partnerships Programme (UPP), the leading provider of on campus student accommodation infrastructure and support services in the UK. The UPP Foundation is a registered charity which helps students, graduates and universities fulfil their potential to transform lives and communities through funding pilot projects and hosting a thought leadership platform.
Our methodology in brief
This research was conducted through a mixed-methods approach, comprising a literature review, a quantitative survey and semi-structured focus group interviews. Eligibility criteria were that participants were current students enrolled at a UK higher education institution, studying within any academic field at any level of study. We had 153 complete survey responses (taking place in February-March 2023) and twelve focus group participants (taking place in December 2022). Participation was incentivised with entry to a draw for shopping vouchers for survey participants and guaranteed voucher rewards for focus group participants.
Are you affected by the issues raised in this piece?
Student Space, run by Student Minds, is here to help you as you navigate the uncertainty of university life with expert support and wellbeing advice. Whether you’re stressed about your studies, personal life, or if you have concerns about what university life will look like, you don’t have to struggle on your own. Explore their dedicated resources, tips, tools and student stories to find the help you need.