Earlier this year, students from all 19 Scottish universities contributed their views to the first national student survey on mental health - the Thriving Learners study.
The study, which was co-ordinated by the Mental Health Foundation in partnership with Universities Scotland and funded by the Robertson Trust, was completed by more than 15,000 students between January and April 2021. The results of the survey were published on Thursday 18 November 2021, and they highlight that around 74% of surveyed university students have reported having low wellbeing.
Responding to the results, Jill Stevenson, Chair of AMOSSHE The Student Services Organisation, said: “The results of this critical survey into student wellbeing in Scotland mirror concerning trends in our society, and we are very conscious that behind these statistics are real people, including students from all Scottish universities.
“We know that student mental health and wellbeing is a priority for universities across the UK. AMOSSHE members have worked incredibly hard in recent years to enhance the mental health support and wellbeing resources available in their institutions. They have worked closely with students and colleagues as well as external partners to develop mental health strategies and agreements, and to increase investment in mental health, counselling, wellbeing and student support staff and preventative initiatives. Many institutions have also invested in digital mental health and wellbeing platforms to ensure that students and staff can access support 24/7.
“However, we recognise that more can and should be done, and we welcome recommendations to further address mental ill health and low wellbeing. AMOSSHE and our members look forward to being part of further discussions with the sector, NHS, the Scottish Government, Universities Scotland and Universities UK and, critically, our students, to develop collaborative solutions.
“In particular, we would welcome additional government support for mental health and wellbeing provision in universities, plus work to urgently enhance referral pathways and secondary support in the NHS. Universities are deeply committed to supporting our students, but it is important to recognise we cannot be a substitute for specialist NHS provision. Universities and Student Services practitioners will achieve the best impact if we work in partnership and focus on the areas within our expertise as part of a whole society collaboration.”
Find out more about the Thriving Learners study: Nearly three quarters of university students surveyed in Scotland have low wellbeing.
AMOSSHE, The Student Services Organisation is a UK non-profit professional association. Company registration number 4778650.