Wellbeing and mental health major concerns for parents of prospective university students

Serious student working on laptop in library

Financial instability and academic success are causing high levels of stress for students starting university, while parents are deeply concerned about their children’s wellbeing, a recent survey has found.

The research, commissioned by Endsleigh Insurance Services, showed how students set to embark on their studies begin feeling the pressure more than a month before starting their studies. The biggest reason for this concern was academic success, with 82 per cent of students either regularly or occasionally worrying about their achievements following what they deem to be a significant investment of time and money. Other worries students had included financial concerns (80%) and social interactions (79%), which could also fuel the concern of not achieving academic success.

Additionally, the research found one third of respondents (33%) are not confident about starting their degree, while 62 per cent of applicants are concerned about finding a job to fund their studies.

In stark contrast, the research found parents are more concerned about their child’s mental health and safety, with the vulnerabilities surrounding the new environment and the distance from home a big worry. Despite this, 70 per cent of parents were confident their children would seek support if they were struggling with their mental health, however half of students (49%) admitted they were not confident they would seek help if it was required.

The disparity shown between parents and their children shows the ever increasing role universities must play in ensuring student wellbeing is not lost, as Oliver Barrow, head of education at Endsleigh Insurance Services, explains: “Our insight demonstrates clear differentials between what students view as the biggest concerns ahead of university against what parents are most concerned with.

“We understand the concerns and worries of both students and parents today are greater than ever before. Endsleigh works closely with partners across the education community, including universities, to support the student and parent experience during their time at university”

60 per cent of all respondents admitted one of the top concerns for financial stability is finding the funds to replace a broken item. According to Endsleigh, the average claim made by students was £881 for the last academic year, indicating the high-valued items students are taking with them to university.

The research also found 97 per cent of students and parents expect universities to play a key role in offering support, for both stress and mental health and wellbeing.

To aid this, Endsleigh have created a specific student Wellbeing proposition available for higher education establishments, moving beyond traditional insurance. Offering proactive support to help alleviate the pressure students, families and universities are facing, including supporting the mental health provision to students at university who may be struggling.  

There are currently five products available, including a medical assistance service which provides access to a GP and a mental health and counselling provision for ongoing support.

Oliver added: “Our proposition offers a set of products that allow universities to provide support which can be embedded within their procedures. It helps enhance their wellbeing provision and increases the support, guidance and financial protection each university can provide its students.

“As a trusted partner, working with Endsleigh can help provide universities with the extra services to aid their provision to students, including counselling for debt or legal problems, cover for personal accidents and fees protection, as well as protection against the lost, damaged or stolen items.”

Endsleigh has summarised and analysed all of the findings from its research in its paper: A guide to what new students and their parents are really worrying about, which can be downloaded by visiting https://www.endsleigh.co.uk/education/student-wellbeing/.

Endsleigh will also be exhibiting at the upcoming Higher Education Conference on 16 October 2019, London, and will be available to discuss its findings on Stand 5.