It’s been a difficult year for students all across the UK, many of whom have had their terms cut short by universities going into lockdown, and their academic futures cast into uncertainty. In light of the anxieties caused by the pandemic, it’s unsurprising that mental health is a current priority for many students.
According to the 2020 NatWest Student Living Index, only 27% of students feel that their university provides adequate mental health support. However Southampton, which features heavily in the index, storms ahead as the city offering accessible programs for mental health and wellbeing.
Southampton leads the way in mental health support
The Student Living Index asked students from 29 top university cities about crucial student life elements, from income and expenditure to mental health and wellbeing in the light of Covid-19.
While across the board the availability of wellbeing programmes could be improved, Southampton tops the index with 49% of participants agreeing their university provides adequate support for mental health. It ranks as the city taking the best care of their students’ wellbeing, placing 1st (and 22% above national average) for overall mental health support and 2nd for the affordability of their programmes (75% of its students claim the programmes provided are affordable).
While 45% of students rate studying for their degree as being very stressful, at 29%, Southampton students’ levels of academic-related stress are the lowest in the UK. Given that students are having to manage studying from home and unexpected changes to exams on top of everything else, this is a great achievement.
Southampton students can strike a balance
As well as appearing the least anxious about their studies, Southampton students also reported high levels of enjoyment in their degree, with 44% of participants rating their degree enjoyment on the upper end of the scale.
Students at Southampton also spend a great deal of time socialising at an average of 36.4 hours a month, ranking them fourth in the index. Despite this, only 21% reported stress about managing money, suggesting Southampton is a pretty easy city when it comes to balancing finances and having a good time.
Southampton is a great city for general health and wellbeing
Southampton students continue to be enthusiastic about the gym, ranking among the top three for spending the most on fitness at £13 - £15 a month – three times more than their fellow students at Brighton. Spend on alcohol remains about average, but £3.60 for a pint is also much less than a Brighton student, at £4.60, can expect.
The results of the survey also revealed that 51% of participants chose Southampton based on subject choice alone, showing it really is a great place to study. Still, academic motivations aside, Southampton’s wellbeing initiatives have been rated the best out of all university cities’ – showing students really don’t have to travel far to feel looked after.
Winning first place for their mental health resources, it’s clear Southampton's universities and the city itself is doing a good job looking out for their students during what we can all agree is a pretty difficult time.
If you are thinking about pursuing further education, Southampton has two fantastic universities, the University of Southampton and Solent University, both of which offer a diverse range of courses.
Southampton is an amazing city full of opportunities for work and study as well as things to do during your downtime. Cinemas, shopping centres, museums, art galleries, music venues, pubs, clubs and restaurants are just a few of the things our city is great for. Find green spaces across the city centre and you can even discover Southampton's maritime and aviation history by walking the old walls or heading to our museums.