Students don’t ask for mental health help due to embarrassment, survey shows

Three quarters of students don’t ask for help for mental health and wellbeing problems due to being embarrassed, new data shows.

The data comes from Unihealth, the country’s first health and wellbeing messaging platform for students.

Despite around a quarter (23%) of students suffering from panic attacks during exam time and 27% considering dropping out of university, only 7% seek help from a counsellor.

Interestingly, around a third (28%) of those participating in the survey said they would prefer to receive advice from a private message sent directly to their smartphone.

Three quarters of students admitted that they don’t ask for help because they’re embarrassed, they don’t know where to find help or they think it’s a waste of time.

The survey also showed that students place pressure on themselves during exam time, leading to negative behaviour. Almost half (49%) admitted to eating badly, whilst 35% pulled all-nighters and 16% admitted to drinking alcohol.

Daphne Metland, director at UniHealth said: “Students are clearly putting themselves under a huge amount of pressure when it comes to exams leading to poor health and bad decisions. The majority of students starting university now are digital natives, communicating mostly via their smartphone. A digital solution which delivers behavioural change messaging, provides an alternative way in which students can identify wellbeing issues they have and opens up a confidential platform for self-help. Meaning students can get the help they require, when and where they need it.”

The survey also found that 76% of students believe more wellbeing support from their university, including support to help them fit into “university life” and ways to talk about their unhappiness would stop them dropping out of studies.

Zoë Cantley, student at City London commented: “As with most students, I have experienced high levels of stress during exam time and haven’t always known where to turn. I think students need better help, delivered in a way that works for them, to keep them healthy during their time at university, especially around exam time. Having messages delivered to us on our phones would provide us with consistent, ongoing support in a more convenient and comfortable way.”


Reece Armstrong is a reporter for Digital Health Age. Coming from the North East of England, Reece has an MA in Media & Journalism and a BA in Popular & Contemporary Music from Newcastle University. Reach him on Twitter or email via:

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