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Inside UK Universities: Staff mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus pandemic

Dougall, I. and Weick, M. and Vasiljevic, M. (2021) 'Inside UK Universities: Staff mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus pandemic.', Project Report. Durham University.


This report documents the mental health and wellbeing of university staff during the coronavirus pandemic, using survey data collected online in March 2021 from 1,182 staff employed across 92 UK universities. Overall, the survey data suggest that university staff are grappling with high levels of poor mental health and wellbeing: * One in two university staff reported experiencing chronic emotional exhaustion (55%), worry(53%), and stress (51%) during the academic year 2020/21. * Half of the staff surveyed (47%) described their mental health as poor. * Over a third of staff members reported low life satisfaction (36%). * More than a quarter of staff reported feeling as if the things they did in their lives were not worthwhile (27%). * One in two staff members experienced high levels of anxiety (50%) – 1.5 times higher than the national average (32%). * One in three university staff reported low levels of happiness (33%) compared with a national average of one in seven (14%). In this report, we explore factors that may alleviate the burden of poor mental health and wellbeing amongst HE staff. Factors that fall more within the remit of institutions include social inclusion and the alignment between skills and task demands. Factors that fall more within the remit of government and policy makers include autonomy and the value that is placed on universities and their staff. In publishing this report, we hope institutional leaders and policy makers will recognise the urgent need to improve staff mental health and wellbeing. As we approach another academic year impacted by Covid-19 and universities in England brace themselves for funding cuts in the next spending review, action is needed to prevent a further deterioration in staff mental health and wellbeing.

Item Type:Monograph (Project Report)
Additional Information:A visual abstract illustrating some key findings can be found in the PsyArXiv Supplemental Materials, and can be downloaded from
Full text:(VoR) Version of Record
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution 4.0.
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Status:Not peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:11 August 2021
Date of first online publication:22 June 2021
Date first made open access:11 August 2021

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