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Third of students say mental health has ‘worsened since start of term’

Nearly one in three university students say their mental health has worsened since the start of the autumn term, a report suggests.

The average life satisfaction score for students remains significantly lower than the adult population in Great Britain, according to an Office for National Statistics (ONS) survey.

The poll of 973 students in England between October and November suggests students were more likely to say their mental health and wellbeing had worsened (32%) compared with in September (26%).

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

The findings come after university students have returned to campuses across the UK for more in-person lessons and social activities. 

Some universities are keeping some lectures online during the autumn term as they adopt a blended approach to learning amid the pandemic.

Experimental figures from the ONS suggest more than half of students (55%) believe their academic performance has been significantly or majorly affected since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

The average life satisfaction score for students was 6.6 out of 10, which was lower than those aged 16 to 29 in general (7.0) and the adult population in Great Britain (7.1), the ONS said.On vaccination, 91% of students said they have already been jabbed against Covid-19 at least once – with a higher proportion of students reporting having had two doses (85%) than in late September (78%). 

Nearly half (49%) of students said they had taken at least one Covid-19 test in the past week – even if they have not had symptoms.

Tim Gibbs, head of the ONS’s Student Covid-19 Insights Study, said: “It is encouraging the majority of students report being vaccinated against Covid-19, and many would get tested if they developed symptoms.

“However, a third of students sadly reported their mental health and wellbeing had worsened since the start of the autumn term.”

Nick Hillman, director of the Higher Education Policy Institute (Hepi) think tank, said: “This shows that students are largely very sensible – they are getting tested and vaccinated and they are trying to progress with their studies as best they can.

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