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One in four students suffer from mental health problems


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The true extent of mental health problems among university students in the UK has been revealed in a new study by YouGov.

The survey, which was put to 1061 students, showed that more than a quarter (27%) reported having a mental health problem of some type.

The study found that female students are more likely to have mental health problems than males (34% vs 19%), and LGBT students have a particularly high likelihood of mental health problems compared to their heterosexual counterparts (45% vs 22%).

For a significant proportion of students with mental health issues, these problems can make even day-to-day tasks difficult. Nearly half (47%) said that that they have trouble completing daily tasks and a further 4% said they cannot complete even simple tasks.

Depression and anxiety are by far the most common mental health problems among students. Of those who suffer, 77% have depression-related problems, and 74% have anxiety related problems. However, for many of these students it is common for to be afflicted with both at once – 74% of students with an anxiety-related problem also have one related to depression.

According to the survey, degree study is the primary cause of stress among students. Seven in ten (71%) say that work from university is one of their main sources of stress. The next biggest concern for students is finding a job after university (39%), followed by their family (35%). Jobs and relationships (23% each) and friends (22%) account for the majority of other sources of stress.

Students are broadly aware that mental health services are provided by their university. Three quarters of students were aware that their university had a counselling service they could access. Only 14% weren’t aware of any services available to them.

Meanwhile, nearly one in five (18%) students have already made use of university mental health services, nine in ten of whom (89%) visited a counsellor. Satisfaction levels regarding university support are relatively high, with 30% saying that they found the service very helpful and a further 45% saying it was somewhat helpful.

Troublingly, more than half of students (52%) know between one and five people that suffer from a mental illness, whereas just 8% know no-one with mental health problems.

The overwhelming majority of students (84%) also accept that mental illness is just as serious as physical illness. Only 6% of those asked felt that physical ailments were more serious than mental ones, while a further 5% felt that mental illness was more serious.

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