Half of UK Students Suffer Mental Health Issues Over Lack of Money

Half of UK Students Suffer Mental Health Issues Over Lack of Money

Mathilde Frot

Updated October 4, 2023 Updated October 04

Half of UK university students suffer from mental health issues because of money worries.

The survey, conducted by Save the Student, found many young people are poorly equipped to handle their own expenses and female students in particular are likely to make themselves ill worrying about money.

87% of female students said they worry about not having enough to live on, while 63% claiming the lack of money negatively affected their diet.

Sasha, who studied at the University of Derby, said she ran short of money when Student Finance delayed her loan after losing her paperwork: “When it came I hadn't eaten in three weeks except for what I could take from the cafe I worked at with permission. I lost about three stone due to worry and lack of food. At one point I thought of going to a food bank but was too ashamed.”

Jenna, a second year student at Loughborough University, described skipping meals to avoid spending any money. She said: “When things got to my lowest and I lost all motivation to live, I began spending excessively to try and make myself feel better.

“This didn't work and I ended up having multiple suicide attempts and taking anti-depressants. When I finally started recovering I then had to work two jobs to try and make my way out of the debt I had created in that crisis period.”

Only a third of students said their university provided enough support to students struggling with money worries, while under one in four said they felt they were educated sufficiently about money before starting university.

As well as a lack of university support, the finger was pointed at the government for not providing young people with enough money to live on. 55% of those surveyed said the maintenance loan didn’t cover their living expenses. Student spending has actually increased by £31 since 2016, averaging at £821 a month, but the maintenance loan has remained at the same level. This leaves the average student short by roughly £221 every month.

Jake Butler, from Save the Student, said: “The new tuition fee increases, along with pitiful maintenance loans, are putting students under a huge amount of financial and mental stress.

“There is still a severe lack of basic financial education at school, and universities must make advice and support more accessible for students who find themselves in a difficult situation.

“The government announced this week that they’re looking to increase the number of mental health specialists in the NHS, but in the case of students they should be addressing the root cause before mental health problems can take hold.”

This article was originally published in August 2017 . It was last updated in January 2020

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I'm originally French but I grew up in Casablanca, Kuala Lumpur and Geneva. When I'm not writing for QS, you'll usually find me sipping espresso(s) with a good paperback.

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