An interim report on the Graduate Wellbeing Study from Student Minds has revealed that almost half (44%) of recently employed graduates from higher education are currently experiencing mental ill health, with 61% of those surveyed having experienced a mental health issue at some point in their life.

The study collected data from 338 recent graduates employed across a range of sectors. For 95% of respondents, symptoms of mental ill health were experienced before entering the workplace, leading to recommendations that greater mental health support be offered for students in higher education.

Better support at university was found to correlate with a better experience transitioning into the workplace. Very few of the graduate respondents felt they had support and advice on making the transition out of university, understanding the current job market or transitioning into the workplace.

Poppy Jaman, CEO of Mental Health First Aid England and City Mental Health Alliance, commented: “This is a timely point at which to influence what universities do in terms of preparing students for the workplace, and how employers can mitigate the mental health risks among their newest recruits. There are national programmes in motion encouraging a whole university approach to mental health in universities, as well as lots of work across the UK to improve our approaches to mental health in our workplaces so that we create workplace cultures where all of us can thrive and get the support we need.”

Pete Rodgers, Deputy General Counsel, KPMG International and CMHA Non-executive Director, added: “It is my firm conviction that employers have a key role to play in establishing an environment that helps young people starting out in their careers develop skills to support good mental health. And that we are there to provide support when things start getting difficult. Our role should be about both prevention and support.”

The project is part of a partnership project between the  City Mental Health AllianceMental Health First Aid EnglandStudent Minds and the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust. The full report from the survey will be released later this year.

The Higher Education Mental Health First Aid course is designed for everyone who works or studies in a university environment. The course helps delegates gain the skills and confidence to spot the signs of mental health issues, offer first aid and guide someone towards the support they need. Find out more about the Higher Education MHFA course.