Today, we are celebrating one year since we launched the report ‘University Mental Health: Life in a Pandemic’. The report explored students’ experiences of the Covid-19 pandemic and considered all aspects of students' lives; their living arrangements, academic experience, social connectedness, access to support and mental wellbeing. A reminder of our key findings:
Reflecting on the year since, we recognise that lots has changed. We have seen the removal of all restrictions related to Covid, a widespread return to on-campus teaching and learning, and growing uncertainty in other areas such as the cost of living crisis. Whilst some of the challenges we saw in 2020/2021 have been mitigated, others have been exacerbated and students continue to be disproportionately impacted.
In August 2021, we made a series of recommendations which we hoped would help to ensure students received increased support for their mental health and wellbeing. Whilst reviewing these recommendations alongside our more recent research findings, we have identified three key areas where students continue to need additional support: finances, social connectedness, and challenging transitions.
We are therefore now recommending that the Government:
In addition, we are recommending that universities and students’ unions:
Our hope is that, with this additional support, students can enjoy their university experience without facing the additional stressors of financial hardship, loneliness, uncertainty and a lack of belonging. Without this support, we know that students’ experiences will suffer and their mental health will be at risk.