According to the latest stats from a 2021 report by the U.K.’s Office for National Statistics, 37% of first-year university students surveyed in England have symptoms of anxiety and depression, which is much higher than the average for the general population of the same age range, which stands at 22%.
Furthermore, the ONS survey found that 21% of first-year university students had engaged with mental health services since September 2020.
It is not just the U.K. that is seeing a rise in anxiety among students. Anxiety is on the rise among student populations globally. But why is anxiety affecting more and more students? Let’s explore five key reasons.
A survey by the U.K. government’s National Core Study programme analysed the impact that Covid-19 has had on the long-term mental health of first-year higher education students.
It found that young adults, especially females and those completing higher degrees, were the people who were experiencing the highest level of anxiety, due to living through the lockdowns of the pandemic and the aftermath.
2. Increased Academic Pressure
Covid-19 and the lockdowns are now well-known for being responsible for the recent huge rise in people experiencing anxiety disorders and other mental health issues, and it seems to have hit students the hardest. But there are many other reasons why anxiety is on the rise among students.
One reason is the increased academic pressure that modern-day students face. Today’s education system is more demanding than ever. Students are expected to excel in extra-curricular activities, and internships as well as multiple subjects.
As a consequence, that overload of expectations can lead to feelings of stress and anxiety.
3. The Impact of Social Media
Another contributing factor is the impact of social media on students’ lives. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat encourage young people to compare themselves with others constantly.
That desire to keep up or outdo their peers can result in an unhealthy focus on self-image and achievements—fuelling insecurities and exacerbating existing anxieties.
4. Financial Stress
College tuition fees have skyrocketed in recent years, leaving many students with considerable financial burdens upon entering higher education.
Therefore, the fear of falling into debt or not being able to secure a well-paying job post-graduation can be a major source of anxiety for students.
5. Fear of Failure
The pressure to succeed academically and professionally often comes hand-in-hand with a fear of failure. Students may worry about letting themselves or their families down if they don’t perform at an exceptionally high level.
That constant worry can create a breeding ground for anxiety.
What Can You Do if You’re Struggling with Anxiety
If you find yourself struggling with anxiety, there are several strategies you can apply to cope and improve your mental health. For example, consider reaching out to a counsellor or therapist who can help you develop coping mechanisms and offer guidance.
You can also engage in regular physical exercise. This practice is well known to alleviate stress and promote overall well-being. You could consider using relaxation techniques too, such as mindfulness, deep breathing exercises, and meditation.
Some people have found success in managing anxiety through alternative methods, such as using products derived from hemp. For instance, at Hometown Hero, anxiety sufferers can get Delta-9 live rosin made from hemp, which may help to alleviate anxiety symptoms due to its natural components.
Furthermore, building a supportive network with friends and family can provide an outlet for sharing concerns and seeking advice, which will undoubtedly help to reduce symptoms of anxiety.
As we have seen, there are a number of reasons why anxiety is on the rise among students. Covid-19, increased academic pressure, the impact of social media, financial stress, and fear of failure are all responsible for the increase.
If you are a student who is struggling with anxiety yourself, don’t hesitate to explore various options, such as those mentioned above, to improve your mental health.