A new study by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) and Kela found that over half the students studying at higher education institutions experienced feelings of loneliness during the ongoing COVID- 19 pandemic.
The preliminary results of the study indicate that young women in particular have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, with as many as three out of four female university students aged 18–22 reporting that they felt lonelier than ever before.
Additionally, the increased study load during the past year has had a particularly adverse effect on the mental health of young women studying at universities (aged 18–22) and at universities of applied sciences (aged 18–26).
While around 70 per cent of students in higher education institutions struggled to cope with their studies, one in every five felt that learning was now easier. Nearly 40 per cent of students said that the pandemic had worsened their economic situation, at least to some extent.
The results of a school health promotion survey conducted by THL in Spring indicate that female high school students have also been disproportionately affected by the current situation.
Almost one in every three female students in grade 8 or 9 reported feeling anxiety during the pandemic, compared to less than one in 10 male students. Girls were also found to experience loneliness more often than boys.