A-level results day special: why uni students need our help

August 15, 2019  |  Lorna Marsh

To some they’re seen as the Me Generation, as special snowflakes who are easily triggered and are obsessed with tech and avocado toast.

You’d expect then that today’s Generation Z university students would be eager to talk about themselves and their issues.

But dig deeper and you’ll find uni students today are very different to the entitled, health-obsessed stereotype. According to research carried out by the Unihealth team, our university wellbeing messaging service, they have more stressors than ever before but are reluctant to get help and many aren’t great at self care.

With thousands today collecting A-level results and preparing to go to university, here’s a quick snapshot of who they are.

  1. Nearly 10% don’t eat ANY fruit or veg
    To be exact, when asked how many portions of fruit and vegetables they eat a day on average while at university, 8% answered ‘none’. Another 22% answered ‘one’. So that’s nearly a third of students eating no fruit or veg, or just one piece a day. In fact only 8% manage the recommended five portions. What avo on toast?
  2. Their third biggest stress is cooking
    This might explain number one. But then for this to be such a big worry, it means students do want to cook properly for themselves rather than just rustle up the stereotype staple of beans on toast, even if they don’t feel able to.
  3. Their first biggest stress is making friends
    Imagine moving out of your family home and going to a completely new city where you know no-one and have to live with strangers. With a third also feeling homesick, it’s no wonder having a supportive network of friends is the biggest worry for freshers, especially when good friendships are so vital to good mental health.
  4. 19% have suicidal feelings
    Worryingly, this is nearly a fifth of the students we surveyed. What’s more, nearly half felt depressed and 82% experienced stress and anxiety.
  5. They don’t know where to go for help
    Out of those who didn’t seek the help they needed, a fifth were worried about the cost and 21% were too embarrassed. A whopping 37% simply didn’t know where to ask.

The good news is that the Unihealth messaging programme helped 90% of students know where to go for help or advice. It made 80% less embarrassed about getting support and helped 88% look after themselves. Here’s what the students themselves had to say:

Unihealth infographic

Check out the full student survey, and the results of the Unihealth support service pilot