Students ‘reluctant to seek help for mental health issues’

Students ‘reluctant to seek help for mental health issues’

Students ‘reluctant to seek help for mental health issues’
Students’ mental health in the UK may be significantly worse than previously thought, according to a new study, which found that well-being issues are significantly under-reported.
Research by the Centre for Transforming Access and Student Outcomes (Taso) and the Centre for Education and Youth (CfEY) found the impact of Covid created lingering high levels of anxiety, stress and loneliness.
It also found that many are reluctant to seek support, with students from a black and minority ethnic background, men and mature students among the least likely to report a mental health condition.
“The evidence suggests that the growth in student mental health issues could be much worse than we thought, and that these issues are potentially widening the gap between advantaged and disadvantaged students,” said Sarah Chappell, research lead on the project at Taso.
Researchers found that 79% of educational institutions they surveyed said they had put additional support in place to help students and two-thirds said they had introduced more targeted support for at least one at-risk group – for example, designated helplines or employing a member of staff to work with particular groups.
Others said some students were not interested in targeted support as they felt singled out due to their identity or background.
Funding was cited as a key issue for all institutions who participated in the research, with smaller higher education providers in particular citing a lack of resources.
Added to this, staff lacked the skills or resources to assess the effectiveness of particular programmes. This meant they struggled to prove whether an intervention could be linked to long-term outcomes, such as the student achieving better grades.
Chappell said there were “still gaps in the evidence base for what works to tackle mental health inequalities in the sector”.
She said: “More effective evaluation is needed and a more evidence-based approach to planning interventions. We are lacking in evidence that demonstrates the long-term impact of student mental health support, particularly on HE-related outcomes, and want to support the sector in the evaluation of initiatives,” she added.