Shining a light on mental health in students

Over half of UK students who went to uni for career opportunities have struggled with their mental health. We asked over 5,000 students in the UK about their current feelings at university, how long they spend studying, their biggest pressure and how they’re able to fund themselves. If you’re feeling the financial strain, you’re not alone, as 2 out of 3 of students with a student loan have experienced financial pressure and half have a job in order to survive.

Sadly, the pressure of being at university is greater as students move throughout the years. 70% admitted that their mental health has become an issue during their time at uni.

Time to throw in the towel?

1 in 3 students who claim their main source of pressure is themselves, have considered dropping out of uni.

60% have struggled with their mental health.
57% of students with financial pressure have struggled with mental health and 30% have considered dropping out.

The survey also revealed that students who have a job while studying are more likely to quit compared to those with other sources of income.

51% of uni students know someone who has dropped out due to mental health reasons.

Undoubtedly, income plays a huge role in student lives, which is why students get jobs to help support them alongside their student loan. A quarter of students have to get a job because their parents can’t financially support them. As for mature students, over 50% said their main source of income is from their job.

Only 30% of students said their university experience so far was ‘great’.

We learnt from our recent revision survey that pressure has a significant impact on students of all ages. Pressure comes from all sources; the most intense often coming from the individual. Of the students who chose to go to uni for career opportunities, 51% admitted to putting pressure on themselves to succeed. 31% said it’s down to finance.

Naturally, the majority of students (77%) chose to go to uni for career opportunities, while mature students were most motivated by life experience.

Where does the other pressure come from? Why are students feeling a large amount of stress at such a young age?

Aside from traditional exam and workload anxiety, UK students opened up about their personal reasons for the high amount of pressure.

These included:
“family” “work placements” “mental health” “housemates” “life after uni” and “self-validation”.

Is the cost of going to uni too much for students studying in the UK?

We asked students to rate their university’s value for money out of 100. It was a 50/50 split…

60% of students who took out a student loan have experienced mental health issues. The figure is even bigger for students with jobs, who have also considered dropping out more.

Aside from survival, why are students choosing to work?

We were told: “save for further education” “sense of purpose” “independence” “pay for uni supplies” “support family” “experience” “confidence” “placement job unpaid” and “save for the future”.

Naturally, the majority of students (77%) chose to go to uni for career opportunities, while mature students were most motivated by life experience.

Why are students considering dropping out of uni?

An overwhelming number of students specified that pressure, stress and mental health were reasons behind considering quitting uni.

Other answers included the following:
“failed a year” “loneliness” “too expensive” “depression” “lack of money” “restricted opportunities” “social pressure” “financial stress” “overwhelming” “homesick” and “too much commitment”.

We asked students about their reasons for going to university. Here’s what they had to say:

“best possible future” “study favourite subject” “only option for preferred career” “fulfil ambitions” “learn more about life “family members went” “change of career” “societal conformity” “encourage children to do well in education” “student lifestyle” “had confidence to go” and “pressure”

Are students going to uni for the right reasons?

Our latest survey has uncovered some of the concerns that students today are facing.

Mental health appears to be a growing concern among students, mature students are more likely than their younger counterparts to have gone to uni for the benefit of life experience and more than 60% of students are working to subsidise their loans. Is this a changing approach to university life, or are we simply seeing a passing trend? If you're a student, we'd love to hear your thoughts, so please do get in touch on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

Ryman would like to wish you all the best of luck with your studies and don’t forget, we’re here to help with your Back to Uni stationery needs! If you are feeling the pressure with work, your finances or anything else, please seek help from a representative at your university.

Useful FREE Helplines -

• Childline - Help for children and young people, they have an online exam stress help centre - call 0800 1111

• Samaritans - Whatever you’re going through, you can call any time, from any phone - call 116123

• The Mix - If you’re aged 13-25, you can contact The Mix for information and support - call 0808 808 4994