Anxiety and depression were found to be the most common issues among studentssadsid96

Almost one in eight (12 per cent) undergraduates consider themselves to have a mental health condition, a new survey has found.

YouthSight and YouGov surveyed 6,504 undergraduates at UK universities on behalf of the student accommodation provider Unite Students, a far larger sample size than any recent national survey.

Students with mental health conditions were found to be significantly more likely to consider dropping out. Nearly two-thirds (62 per cent) of respondents with mental health conditions said they had considered dropping out, 27 per cent more than those surveyed without a mental health condition (35 per cent).

Anxiety and depression were the most commonly reported conditions, with 82 per cent of those with a mental health condition identifying themselves as having anxiety, and 79 per cent as having depression.

Speaking to Varsity about the report’s findings, Keir Murison, President of Student Minds Cambridge, said: “[t]he rise of mental health issues amongst students and young people has been seen for a number of years, and the real figures are probably far higher. While this is worrying, we must use this as an opportunity to push for measures which will aid students having problems.”

Those who reported experiencing mental health issues were also far more likely to report having negative feelings than those who did not report any mental health issues. 85 per cent of those with a mental health conditions stated they often or always felt “stressed or worried”, compared to 58 per cent of students without them.

They were also, at 17 per cent, far less likely to often or always feel “calm and relaxed” than those without a mental health issue, at 48 per cent.

CUSU’s Welfare Officer, Sophie Buck, told Varsity that, although the survey was “not specific to Cambridge,” its results were still “important in highlighting factors associated with poorer mental health and barriers to accessing support.”

Buck pledged to “promote the various independent sources of support available at a university level, such as Nightline and the Student Unions’ Advice Service, which provide important complements to college support.”

Unlike other recent studies, Unite Students also surveyed 2,169 applicants to university, finding that, at 12 per cent, the same proportion of applicants as students consider themselves to have a mental health condition.

However, there was some variation in the types of mental health problems experienced by applicants and students, with the latter being more likely to report suffering from anxiety (82 per cent, as opposed to 77 per cent) and depression (79 per cent, compared to 70 per cent).

The study also examined students’ life satisfaction. Almost three quarters of those surveyed (73 per cent) were found to be satisfied with their life at the moment, with 13 per cent unsatisfied.

Levels of life satisfaction were found to be lower among students from lower socio-economic groups, with only 66 per cent of respondents from poorer backgrounds satisfied with their lives, as opposed to 77 per cent of students from the wealthiest families.

Murison said that this disparity “shows the need for a greater focus on the reasons why mental health issues develop and not simply treating them after they appear. Playing catch-up will always leave us several paces behind.”

A previous survey by YouGov had reported that 27 per cent of respondents suffer from a mental health condition, compared to an NUS survey which has the percentage of students with a mental health condition as high as 78 per cent. However, this new report surveyed around six times as many students as participated in those.

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