YouGov’s findings show remarkable divisions between demographics based on gender and sexualityMariusz Kluzniak

More than one in four students have a mental health problem, a new survey has found.

YouGov surveyed 1,061 students, 27 per cent of whom said that they suffered one or more mental health issues.

The results revealed a striking gap between heterosexual and non-heterosexual students. Students who picked options other than “Straight” were far more likely to report a mental health problem than those who identified as heterosexual, with 45 per cent as opposed to 22 per cent declaring one.

A gender gap also emerged: over a third (34 per cent) of female respondents reported having a mental health problem, more than ten per cent more than male respondents (19 per cent).

Depression was the most commonly-cited mental health problem among the respondents, at 77 per cent of those who said they had a problem of any kind suffering from it. 74 per cent of those who said they had depression also experienced anxiety, which was the second most common condition overall, with 74 per cent of all respondents having suffered from it.

The majority (63 per cent) said that they had experienced levels of stress which had disrupted their day-to-day lives.

Work was cited as the main source of stress, underscoring an issue for Cambridge students highlighted by the National Student Survey (NSS), which was released earlier this week. In the wake of the NSS, CUSU commented that “just over half of NSS respondents agreed that the workload on their course was manageable”

The second most prevalent source of stress in the YouGov survey was finding a job after university, and around one in five students said that work, relationships and friends were a cause of stress.

Contrast in findings

The results paint a contrast with the findings of a survey, conducted by National Union of Students (NUS) on behalf of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Students, the results of which were published last December.

Operating from a similar sample size, NUS’s survey found that 78 per cent students had suffered from a mental health problem – nearly three times the proportion of YouGov’s survey. Among respondents to NUS’s survey, 24 per cent more said they had experienced stress (87 per cent).

YouGov’s survey found that around one in six students (14 per cent) were not aware of university services available to support them.

The findings suggested a widespread prevalence of mental health problems, with 52 per cent of respondents reporting that they knew “one to five” people with them.

Attitudes towards mental health problems assessed by the survey suggested that they are taken very serious, with 84 per cent saying that mental health issues are as serious as physical ones. 74 per cent said said that they would show concern if they discovered a person had a mental health problem, with 19 per cent saying they would not react at all. Three per cent said it would make them more cautious around the person.