University students starting the academic year in Reading are confident about handling Covid, according to a snapshot poll by Healthwatch Reading.
However, their main wellbeing concern is dealing with their mental health.
Students shared their views when we surveyed them at the University of Reading Freshers Fair in September. They’ll be in a good place to seek help for any medical issues, as two-thirds said they had signed up with a Reading GP surgery or planned to do so in the near future, and all took away access to Healthwatch Reading’s online Student Health Guide.
Student survey findings
- 96% were confident about where to get a lateral flow test from
- 95% were confident about how to book a Covid vaccination
- 94% were confident they would know if they had Covid symptoms
- 85% were confident in knowing how to arrange a PCR test
- 82% said coping with stress and worries was their top health and wellbeing issue
- 41% said living with depression or another mental health condition
- 36% said their weight and diet
- 13% said dental health
- 11% said sexual health and contraception
- 66% said they had joined a Reading GP surgery or would do in the near future
Source: Healthwatch Reading survey of 115 students, September 2021
More than three-quarters of respondents said they had come from elsewhere in the UK to study in Reading.
Dr Elizabeth Johnston, a GP partner at Reading's University Health Centre, thanked Healthwatch Reading for sharing the findings. "We now have a mental health practitioner seconded from Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust to the practice two days a week, with appointments available for online booking, to increase our mental health support."
Students’ top three health concerns have been the same every time Healthwatch Reading has surveyed local learners in the past three years, showing an ongoing need for people to have good access to mental health and wellbeing support.