Undergraduate mental health issues: the challenge of the second year of study

Ann Macaskill
  • Journal of Mental Health, February 2018, Taylor & Francis
  • DOI: 10.1080/09638237.2018.1437611

Why are university students more anxious in their second year of study?

What is it about?

Twenty-three second year university students were interviewed towards the end of their second year about how they experienced their second year. In a previous study (Macaskill, 2012) I surveyed students and found that the numbers of students experiencing mental health problems increased in the second year. Levels of anxiety were particularly high. The students interviewed in this study were a group who were well psychologically and a group who had mental health problems. Both groups shared similar problems many of which related to practices in the university which could easily be changes to reduce student stress.

Why is it important?

Student mental health is a global concern. With more students studying at university and increasing levels of mental ill health amongst students providing appropriate support and care is costly and universities are finding it difficult to deliver this. Showing that making changes in university procedures which are relatively easy to implement and not costly could help to improve student mental health is very timely and welcome.


Ann Macaskill (Author)
Sheffield Hallam University

This encourages universities to review how their assessment processes, degree regulations and how they communicate all these to students impact on the stress levels of students.

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