Student Mental Health Statistics 2024

Share This Post

In recent years, student mental health has emerged as a critical issue in higher education. As we enter 2024, understanding the mental health landscape among students has become more important than ever. This article aims to delve into the latest statistics and insights regarding student mental health, exploring how factors such as academic pressures, financial stress, and the transition to university life impact students’ wellbeing. 

We will examine how universities are responding to these challenges and what more can be done to support students during their academic journey. With a focus on recent data for 2024, this article provides a comprehensive view of the current state of student mental health in the UK. For educational providers based in Oxford and surrounding counties, we offer Teacher mental health training in Oxford. If you find this article useful, you may also wish to view our piece on the true cost of tutors completing free mental health first aid courses

Risk factors

In this section, we delve into the various risk factors that can adversely affect student mental health. Understanding these risk factors is crucial for developing effective strategies to support students’ mental wellbeing. We will discuss a range of influences, from personal and psychological factors to environmental and social issues, that contribute to the mental health challenges faced by students in the educational setting. This understanding forms the foundation for creating responsive and supportive environments in educational institutions.

Cost of Living

The escalating cost of living poses a significant challenge for students. With the rising expenses of tuition and living costs, students often find themselves under severe financial strain. This economic burden is not just about meeting daily needs; it also encompasses fears about future debt and financial stability. Such constant worry about finances leads to heightened anxiety and stress, impacting a majority of the student population. In a recent survey, 70% of students reported that financial concerns were having a negative impact on their mental health.*


Loneliness is a critical issue in the student community. Transitioning to a new environment, especially for those who move away from their family and established social circles, can lead to feelings of isolation. This is evident in the fact that nearly three-quarters of students report feeling lonely, while 17% feel they have no university friends at all.* The absence of familiar support can significantly affect their mental well-being.

Workload Pressures

Academic workload (including the stress of exams and the need to balance part-time jobs with studies) places a considerable amount of pressure on students. The fear of not meeting expectations or failing can lead to chronic stress and anxiety**. This is compounded for students who strive for perfection or experience imposter syndrome, affecting their mental health greatly.

Diverse Student Needs

Students from diverse backgrounds, including those with chronic physical disabilities, mature students, BAME, international students, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and those with pre-existing mental health conditions, face unique challenges. These can range from cultural adjustment and integration issues for international students to the added responsibilities and financial pressures for mature students**. Such diverse needs require tailored support to ensure their mental well-being.

Living Independently

The transition to living independently can be a significant stressor for students. Moving away from home, often for the first time, requires adjusting to new responsibilities and environments without the immediate support of family. This change can lead to feelings of overwhelm and anxiety as students navigate the complexities of self-reliance**.

Developing a New Identity

University life presents an opportunity for students to develop a new social identity, which can be both exciting and stressful. Adapting to new social circles, expectations, and lifestyles requires significant emotional and psychological adjustment. This process of identity formation, while a natural part of the university experience, can induce stress**, particularly in a highly diverse and dynamic environment.

Prevalence and trends

The mental health landscape among university students is increasingly concerning, as evidenced by a range of studies and surveys. Over the past decade, there’s been a notable increase in first-year students reporting mental health conditions, alongside a rise in academic dropouts due to these issues^. This trend calls for an urgent enhancement of support systems within universities. Additionally, a critical aspect highlighted by research is the low rate of mental health issue disclosure at university entry***, particularly among those who later become suicide victims^^. This underscores the need for more effective mental health disclosure and support strategies in higher education.

Surveys, like The Tab’s 2022/23 report involving 4,000 students***, reveal that a majority (69%) are grappling with mental health challenges, predominantly anxiety and other mental illnesses, significantly affecting their academic participation. Despite these high rates, less than half of these students report their struggles to their universities, and a significant proportion express dissatisfaction with the support they receive. These findings collectively stress the need for universities to adopt more proactive, responsive, and comprehensive approaches to student mental health.

The Importance of Student Mental Health Support Provision

Despite the prevalence of poor student mental health in the UK, in a recent student survey, only 12% reported being satisfied with the way their university handled their mental health issue***. In this section, we explore the crucial role educational institutions play in fostering mental wellbeing among their student population. We will also examine the benefits of comprehensive mental health support systems and the positive outcomes they yield for students, staff, and the wider university community.

Enhancing Academic Attainment Through Mental Wellbeing

Mental health significantly influences academic performance. A student in a positive mental state is more likely to engage deeply with their studies, exhibiting higher levels of creativity and concentration. This, in turn, improves not only their academic results but also their readiness for future employment, as employers increasingly value the ability to maintain good mental health.

The Ripple Effect of Student Wellbeing on Workplaces

Investing in student mental health has long-term benefits that extend into the professional world. Graduates who have learned to manage their mental health effectively can enhance workplace environments with higher productivity, creative problem-solving skills, and reduced absenteeism. This creates a positive cycle where mentally healthy students become assets in their future workplaces.

Legal and Ethical Obligations of Educational Institutions

In some circumstances, educational institutions may be bound by legal as well as ethical obligations to ensure the mental health and safety of their community. This responsibility goes beyond mere compliance with health and safety laws; it involves creating a nurturing environment that actively supports mental wellbeing. Such measures are essential in preventing mental health crises and in fostering a supportive academic culture.

Addressing Mental Illness to Support Academic and Personal Success

The impact of mental illness on students can be profound, often leading to academic underachievement or dropout. Educational institutions must recognise the broader implications of mental health issues, not just for students but for the entire academic community. By addressing these challenges, educational establishments can mitigate the far-reaching effects of mental illness and create an environment conducive to the success and wellbeing of all its members.

What educational institutions can do to support student mental health

To address the challenges outlined in the previous sections, universities can implement several solutions:

1. Enhancing Academic Support: Offering workshops on study skills and time management can help students manage academic pressures. Providing a variety of learning resources tailored to diverse learning styles can also boost academic performance and reduce stress.

2. Workplace Preparation: Universities can collaborate with industries to offer programmes that prepare students for workplace challenges, focusing on mental health awareness and work-life balance strategies.

3. Comprehensive Mental Health Services: Establishing robust mental health services, including counselling, mental health first aid trained staff and peer support programmes, can significantly aid students and staff in managing their mental health effectively.

4. Creating Inclusive Environments: Universities should strive to create inclusive environments that recognize and support the diverse needs of their students, particularly those from marginalized communities.

For more detailed insights and examples, you can refer to the Universities UK website

Mental health first aid training for academic staff

Providing academic staff with Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training equips them with the skills to recognise and respond to early signs of mental health issues among students and colleagues. MHFA is designed not only for serious mental health crises but also for early intervention in less severe cases. The training typically includes understanding common mental health disorders, learning how to approach someone experiencing a mental health issue, and guidance on professional support pathways. By undergoing this training, staff members are better prepared to offer initial support, reduce stigma around mental health, and create a more supportive and understanding campus environment.


In conclusion, this article underscores the vital importance of mental health support provision in educational settings. As we’ve explored, ensuring the wellbeing of students and staff is crucial for their academic success, personal development, and future workplace contributions. Oxford CBT offers a comprehensive Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) course, designed to equip individuals with the knowledge and skills to support mental wellbeing effectively. This course focuses on understanding mental health realities, recognising signs of mental health issues, and facilitating access to effective intervention. Such training is invaluable in creating supportive and resilient educational and workplace environments.

For more information about the MHFA course at Oxford CBT, please click here for detailed insights and course enrolment options.


* FE News (2023), Nearly 2 in 5 students say their mental health has declined since starting university 2 November 2023.

**NICE (2020) Risk factors, Background information, Mental health in students October 2020.

***The Tab (2023) They made me feel invalid 2 May 2023.

****Universities UK (2024) Why mental health should be a priority for universities 

^Phimister & Dix (2020) Developing mental health strategy in higher education 

^^McLaughlin & Gunnell (2020) Suicide deaths in university students in a UK city between 2010 and 2018 

Begin your wellness journey

Get in touch with us and we will assess your needs and expertly pair you with the right clinician and services to get you on the path to embracing life.

To help personalise content and provide a better user experience, we use cookies. By clicking on accept, you agree to allow us to place these on your device. Learn more on our privacy policy.