Research

Universities UK (UUK) has worked in partnership with the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) to address gaps in evidence on mental health in higher education. The research project included a narrative literature review, sixteen case studies, and a survey of higher education provision across multiple settings, including UUK and GuildHE members, the Mixed Economy Group of the Association of Colleges, and Independent Higher Education. It is published as Not by Degrees: Improving student mental health in the UK's universities.

Scope


Scene

The ongoing Mental Health in Higher Education programme is UK-wide. It is relevant to higher education providers in all four nations – England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.

Sector

This is a sector-wide initiative, relevant to all higher education providers, of any size, funding type, location, discipline provision, or age. The higher education sector is diverse, and it is recognised that size, population, mission and operational structure of individual institutions is variable. However, the core principles and vision advocated within the framework is intended to be of use across all institutions.

Lifecycle

The main focus of the work is university students, although the interdependencies with early years, schools, colleges and the world of work are recognised. It’s important to acknowledge particular vulnerabilities during transition periods.

The challenges of transition


Whole population

The higher education sector has expanded significantly in the last decade. Half of all school leavers are now going to university, an expansion that brings particular health challenges.

This framework recognises the interrelation of the mental health of students and staff. Its focus in this first phase is student mental health.

Students by level and age group


Students by level and age group
Age group Undergraduate Postgraduate Total
20 and under 926,145 2,465 928,610
21-24 440,190 175,645 615,830
25-29 124,965 133,390 258,360
30-59 242,705 216,070 458,775
60 and over 13,735 5,295 19,030
Age unknown 120 105 225
Total 1,747,855 532,975 2,280,830
Students by level and age group
Age Group
21-24
25-29
30-59
60 and over
Age unknown
Total
Undergraduate
926,145
440,190
124,965
242,705
13,735
120
1,747,855
Postgraduate
2,465
175,645
133,390
216,070
5,295
105
532,975
Total
928,610
615,830
258,360
458,775
19,030
225
2,280,830