Stress And Anxiety Levels Of Tertiary Students Are Increasing

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According to a new report, South African tertiary students continue to face struggles with their mental health with many stating that they have no access to mental health services. 

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The second annual Insights and Learning Report has been issued by the online crowdfunding platform Feenix and it has cited that 43% of university students in South Africa have indicated that they need mental health support but do not have access to it. 

This is an increase from 33% reported in 2020.  

According to the report stress and anxiety levels of students are not only affected by a lack of critical resources, the impact of the pandemic, remote learning and student debt but there are also various other socio-economic pressures which affect their mental health. 

One student stated that: 

Due to the pandemic, being a student felt very isolating, I did not get any support whether emotionally or academically from fellow students,

Another stated that the academic and financial pressure caused them to have breakdowns. 

The Student Advancement Manager at Feenix, Cara-Jean Petersen explained that students need more than financial assistance saying:

While access to funding is paramount, so is assistance with other resources like food, accommodation, transport, and data to mitigate the additional stressors that contribute to the mental health challenges seen in tertiary institutions.

She added that mental health and other developmental resources and support are "critically needed". 

The report found that many students were going through a state of depression and anxiety because they don't have funding for their fees and accommodation. 

The global management consultancy firm Kearney echoed this in a report in which it indicated that the country is only now starting to see the negative impact of the pandemic which reduced socialisation, limited schooling and affected the mental health of citizens. 

Petersen says that despite the challenges that the country faced over the past two years South Africans, especially students have remained resilient. 

According to the report 88% of respondents were on track to complete their degrees within the allocated time or have completed their degrees already. 

“Education leads to economic participation and upward mobility for a growing youth population. With the right support and resources, there is hope to turn the tide on the challenges that prevent thousands of university students from thriving,” says Petersen. 

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