We believe we need to do more to support students in looking after their health and wellbeing

Screenshot of ESC Student app home page
ESC Student

A surprisingly large number of students suffer physical and mental health problems. For example, a survey by the National Union of Students (NUS) in 2016 has shown that 78% of respondents felt they had experienced mental health problems – diagnosed or undiagnosed – in the previous 12 months.

A third of respondents said they'd had suicidal thoughts in the past year, and according to the Office for National Statistics there were 130 suicides in England and Wales in 2014 among full-time students aged 18 or above - the highest level since at least 2007.

Students can struggle with accessing services

We know that students who develop physical or mental health problems can sometimes find it hard to know what to do next - especially when they've just left home or arrived from abroad.

It can be a real challenge for them to know whether it's safe to manage common health issues themselves (such as colds, tiredness or exam stress), what warning signs to look out for and how to navigate the health service when they need help for more serious problems.

As a result, students may suffer avoidable poor physical or mental health, which can impact on their general wellbeing, academic performance and ability to take part in learning activities. Some of them may even drop out of their studies for health reasons, which can negatively affect their future employability.

How can we support our students?

To help students make sense of their symptoms and enable them to make informed decisions about their health, you can now give students easy access to reliable, clear and relevant health information.

In partnership with students we've developed an easy-to-use smartphone app  ('ESC Student') that

  • provides them with clear answers to important health questions - within seconds, on-the-go and discreetly, and without the need for an internet connection
  • gives safe and reliable general health information and advice, because it's been produced by NHS doctors, together with students and topic experts
  • supports students in taking sensible action when they have a health problem, so they know what to do next and where to go for further information.

The UK Higher Education Policy Institute says:

HEPI report front page"We recommend that higher education institutions advertise the ESC Student app and encourage its use."

Higher Education Policy Institute Report 88 (Sep 2016): "The invisible problem? Improving students’ mental health" (see pages 46 and 47)

Can we trust the information and advice on the app?

We're certified by the NHS England Information Standard as a producer of reliable health information and have undergone a rigorous assessment process to ensure that the information ESC Student provides is clear, accurate, evidence-based, up-to-date and easy to use.

How can we make the app available to our students?

To provide your students with up-to-date health information, you can make ESC student easily available to your students through the the Apple Volume Purchase Programme and Google Play for Work at a 50% discount from the current standard price of £1.99.

If you take out an institutional licence for ESC Student, we will be able to customise the app for your students by adding an icon with your institution's logo to the app's home page that links directly to your own support pages (conditions may apply).

To learn more about how you can support your students with the ESC Student app please contact us.

Useful resources

If you want to raise awareness about ESC Student among your student population, feel free to download and distribute these resources: